By Sara Kent / Two Cathedrals
One of the reasons often cited by those leaving the Republican Party is its rigidity.
Some have discussed their frustrations with this inflexibility in addition to bullying, top-down mandates, and outdated values.
Republicans have won some elections by forcing members to join them in endorsements and policies, lock-step, but that restrictive model is failing. Silencing dissenting voices is not only un-American, its effectiveness is limited in the long term. Most people don’t like being told what to do, how to feel, and what to believe.
As members of the left-leaning community, “winning” won’t happen by emulating the GOP model. Dialogue, even fighting (as long as we avoid ad hominem attacks and are disciplined enough to argue issues) is healthy. Even in public.
There are times to set aside these disagreements and work together for a common cause. Last year, people were inspired to campaign and vote for Bob Filner for myriad reasons, but they primarily came down to: “Carl Must Not Win” and “We Want a True Progressive.”
We did it. We came together, especially after the 2012 primary, and we won.
The more we continue to engage in public discourse about the special mayoral election in two months, the merits of the candidates, progressive ideals, and visions for San Diego without denigrating one another, the more the political process will appeal to others.
Doomsday fear, blame, and negativity are de-motivational and rarely lead to good decision making, but lively discussion that welcomes differing opinions is inviting and can lead to better collaboration. We crave opportunities to share our beliefs and opinions and have them honored by others. This is the only way to learn from one another and articulate and refine our shared values.
Democrats aren’t the authoritarian party of “Be seen and not heard.” There are many differing motivations that inspire voters to identify as Democrat. It’s illogical to silence some of those perspectives in favor of forced unity. Besides, much of our richness and beauty is owed to our diversity.
The bigger our tent, the more voters we will attract. The more voters we attract, the better we will fare during the primary election November 19. The more civil – though impassioned – our conversations in the meantime, the easier we will transition to once again coalescing around the leading Democrat on November 20.
So have it out, folks. Please, keep talking. Join a Get Out The Vote effort and campaign for your chosen candidate tirelessly. If you say something that crosses the line, apologize and get back to arguing the issues, making phone calls, or walking precincts. And don’t burn any bridges you’ll need to cross on November 20.
Originally posted at Two Cathedrals.