Posted by: smstrouse | October 1, 2016

The Hard Work of Becoming Transpartisan

imagesI read The Reunited States of America while I was on vacation at the beach. It’s easy to forget about politics when you’re contemplating the meaning of life while jumping waves. But the book kept calling me back to that other reality: the extreme partisanship of our country and our seeming inability to bridge that divide.

51lRMs9372L._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_Mark Gerson, whose book was the Charter for Compassion’s global read this summer, also led a call-in discussion on September 17 (listen to it here). I was interested in hearing more because, while I agreed with everything he wrote about this unsustainable condition in which we find ourselves, I found myself balking at some of his suggestions for getting out of it.

Maybe it’s this election. I find myself thinking “I’ll become trans-partisan once Donald Trump is a pathetic footnote in American history” – even though I know it’s this divisiveness that’s enabled him to get this far.

The book keeps niggling at me. So I finally took the plunge and took one simple, non-threatening action. I checked out the website for a startup that Gerson recommended called AllSides, which presents news stories from the left, right, and center.

Don’t be fooled by bias. Think for yourself.
See news and issues from multiple perspectives, discuss like adults.

The aim of the site isn’t merely to line up MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN side-by-side. Their stated goal is to help us end our polarization:
News, social media and even search results have dramatically changed in the last several years, becoming so narrowly filtered, biased and personalized that we are becoming less informed and less tolerant of different people and ideas. AllSides exposes bias and provides multiple angles on the same story so you can quickly get the full picture, not just one slant.




I must say I’m intrigued. I’ve been going to the website every day (after consulting The Huffington Post first, of course). But I have to admit that I’m becoming more aware and less tolerant of biased reporting on both sides. So maybe AllSides is onto something.

Thus far, I’ve done the easy stuff. I’ve signed up for the Story of the Week and AllSides updates. I’ve ‘liked’ their Facebook page, so I assume more transpartisan communication will be seeping into my consciousness.

On their little “Rate Your Bias” quiz, I come out (no surprise) thoroughly on the Left. But I truly do want to be part of a society that embodies the transpartisan values listed above. Am I willing to do what it takes to make it happen? Let’s just say, I’m open to the possibility and leave it there for now.

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