Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Progressive Portland: A Bitter Divide

The flouride ballot measure unveiled a deep divide within Portland progressive community. It became clear early on that the election would follow the all too familiar pattern of American politics of viewing one's position on an issue as the only moral, correct, logical, fill in the blank, position, and those who took the opposing view as immoral, incorrect, illogical, fill in the blank. Rather than bringing out the best, the campaigns brought out the worst. Forgive the pun, but it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. 

If those of us who call ourselves progressives are unable to model a way that allows for disagreement in a way that builds rather than destroys trust among ourselves, how can we hope to bring together communities with even stronger more fundamental differences? We all lost this evening. The winners were self righteousness and cynicism. We did not model the beloved community we often profess is our goal. We should pause, reflect, and repent. We should commit ourselves to seeking a better way together. In the words of St. Benedict, "always we begin again".

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