Engaging across differences with my friend Jennifer has created a rare opportunity for people with opposing views to have a potentially fruitful discussion about taboo but extremely important social issues. Here's some context for the discussion:
Upon finding some common ground about a contentious political issue in a context of partisan polarization and distrust, we challenged each other to take steps of good faith toward trust-building and reasonable terms of cooperation between people on the Left and Right.
I wrote (edited):
"A general ethical principle that we should all agree to as part of a legitimate social contract (which is right at the heart of what I am trying to work on with my out of character mission) would be to do unto others as you would have them do unto you... The rub is when we move from general principles to realpolitik in a context-based, "post-Truth," uncivil, messy, morally nihilistic, 24-7 psychological civil war. We seem to be in a present situation in which we are so polarized and "triggered" that none of us trusts the other enough to delay gratification until the people have spoken. I know I feel an overwhelming fear that "this might be the big one!" All the time! So how do we re-establish trust and the willingness to engage in good faith with a willingness to make political compromises for the good of the order?"
"I think by trying to continue to put ourselves in each others' shoes and not denying each others' lived experiences. If you read this, I'll read an article of similar length and stature of your choosing"
Here's the reading that I selected and my response:
"I have some questions and thoughts about appeals to lived experience that might help to build mutual understanding. Particularly, I would like to discuss how self-reported lived experiences and generalizations and policy proposals made on the basis of that particular form of epistemic justification should be consistently evaluated in the context of a diverse democratic society. Here's an article that takes a position pretty much polar opposite to the one presented in the article you asked me to read... I think that if the two of us (as much as we disagree about politically) are able to have a constructive discussion about this "third rail" issue, then anyone who is paying attention to our conversation might have a little more hope that others can have civil, productive conversations about other contentious issues. I thought it might be helpful to discuss the issue in a forum so we don't annoy everybody on FB. Does that sound okay to you? Here's the link to a forum I set up for us (and anyone else who wants to contribute)."