I was just on my way over to the office listening to KMUD when I heard David Cobb discussing the movement to amend the Constitution to eliminate corporate personhood. I have a few thoughts on the matter which I’ll share another time, but I want to respond to a woman identified as “Ella” who called in to suggest outreaching to Tea Party activists on the issue. I have no problem with that, if the Tea Partiers are indeed in opposition to the decision and concept. And I agree with David when he says that we can work with people across ideologies and respectfully disagree on issues such as health care.
Then Ella said something which bothered me. She said that the Tea Party crowd would “come around” to the right side on health care. With all due respect to Ella, who has the best of intentions – they won’t. But that’s even beside the point.
If you’re going to coalition with people who have a much different political perspective, you really have to learn how to listen to them. The Tea Partiers have spent the past year in vehement, often hard line, opposition to government run health care in any form. If you don’t realize this, you haven’t been paying attention to them and you aren’t really listening. Government run health care goes strictly against their view of America. Maybe a few will “come around,” but most will not – not even when they realize that Medicare is in fact government run health care.
In short, if you go into any dialogue with an expectation that they will come around on health care, you aren’t paying them the respect they deserve with regard to their world views and ideology. It behooves you to listen as well as talk; to understand where they are coming from and where they want the country to go. Ella has populism in common with them. But unless she is willing to give up support for universal health care, there will not be any agreement on that issue. It has been the primary motivation for Tea Party rallying, more than any other issue.
It’s not a trivial point.