The first time I read about environmentalists and hunters working together to preserve habitat in the Pacific Northwest, it was a head scratching moment.
On one side, the planet protectors believed in the purity of unspoiled nature. On the other, hunters appreciated having game to stalk and kill in season. To the untrained eye, these two groups appeared completely opposed.
Yet. Their collaboration was rooted in a shared value. Both groups value thriving ecosystems with abundant animals. And in that, their aims overlapped. Together, they accomplished more than if they stayed opposed to one another on principle. The land was saved.
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At the top of the news yesterday was retired General Flynn’s pleading the 5th Amendment to protect himself from incrimination in the investigation of Russia ties.
Today, in response, both the chair (Senator Burr, a Republican) and vice chair (Sen. Warner, a Democrat) issued a joint statement expressing their commitment to obtaining an interview with Flynn and the requested documents.
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last twenty years, bipartisanship is a rare, rare achievement in the days of snark and soundbite.
Their joint statement is no small thing.
They could have refused to work together, but they didn’t. These two men, normally opposed on many issues, signed a document together. This is because they share a value: truth. They set aside political differences and personal squabbles for something greater.
Their action is a win for democracy. Even if some Democrats don’t think they’re going fast enough. Even if some Republicans think it’s a time-wasting witch hunt. This is what democracy looks like.
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Compromise. To co-promise.
Our country was not founded on extremism—left or right. The Constitution wasn’t written because one group ostracized another and refused to cooperate. We don’t “win” at another’s expense. No. Democracy works when people with disparate views seek common ground—and come to agreement on how to accommodate one another.
It may take years or even decades for our country to recover from this period of inflamed hatred and intolerance, of regressive, oppressive policies, and heal the abject fear stirred up in many groups.
But if the current president has accomplished anything so far, it might be that he’s motivated and inspired a few brave souls to reach across the aisle and work for the common good. For our citizens. For democracy.
That tiny glimmer of bipartisanship is worthy of celebration. The optimist in me thinks it might even be a growing trend.
And. While waiting for the snail-like pace of democratic investigations, keep working for justice and fairness and equality. Keep speaking up—even when your bedfellows are strange—and strive to find common ground. If hunters and environmentalists, conservative and liberal senators can do it, so can we.
America will be better for it.