It was a typical transpartisan moment.
“Mark, I’d like to introduce you next week to Mr. X,” said my colleague. She was organizing a meeting with some ad agency executives to help us develop a brand and p.r. strategy for the transpartisan movement.
“Great,” I replied. “Mr. X does fantastic work!”
“But there’s one problem: he’s worked a lot with Al Gore on the climate change issue. Is that okay?”
“That’s absolutely fine,” I said, smiling at the irony. “Everybody in America is a partisan of some kind. We’re going to work all across the political spectrum. So please introduce me to him!”
All of us are partisan, aren’t we?
Each of us has our points of view. We have our preferences. We have our opinions on many, if not most, controversial issues. We tend to like one policy approach better than another. And, when election time comes, we vote for A, not B; or B, not A; or vote for C to send a message; or don’t vote at all.
Our parents, and our brothers and sisters, are partisans too. Sometimes, we vote differently from our parents, our siblings, or even our spouse. But we’re still family, aren’t we?
Becoming transpartisan does not mean pretending we are not partisan. After all, there is no place to check “transpartisan” on Election Day. We must choose for whom to vote: Republican, Democrat, Independent, Green, Libertarian, etc. Whatever we choose (or refuse to choose), we have made a partisan choice. Let’s admit that from the outset: Even transpartisans are partisans too.
But let’s look through the other end of the telescope now. Inside every partisan, isn’t there also a transpartisan? Aren’t we all more than a label?
Think about your daily life. We are citizens (or residents) of the United States of America. We pay taxes to a federal government. We drive our cars on roads with common laws and with a driver’s license issued by public officials and many of our children go to public schools. We all use currency issued by the US Treasury. So, no matter how partisan we may be, we are living every day in a reality that is based on what we share, not only on how we differ.
The fact is: we are, at the same time, separate and connected, partisan and transpartisan.
Once we accept that we, the people, are all something more than partisan, a journey begins. Welcome!