I doubt that any of us would like what Glenn Beck and Michael Moore would conceive, if they got into bed together. That's because, apart from the physically obvious, each is a close-minded ideologue who demonizes all who disagree.
Yet - though none of us would care to bring the thought to mind - the ideological love child of these two might be just what the country needs, to reign in the over-the-top ecological and economic costs we are imposing on our children.
I've spent much of my life forging coalitions between odd bedfellows. I have found that, when people with very different power bases and perspectives can be brought together, they can do extraordinary things.
So far, my focus has been issue-by-issue and problem-by-problem -- everything from saving rainforests in Borneo to reducing conflict in Sudan.
But today there is a need for a broader alliance. Below, I've penciled out one that I believe needs to come into being. I'd appreciate your feedback.
I can't do it - certainly not yet, and not alone. Nor could Glenn or Michael, Rush or Rachel, Palin or Franken. They are too prudish about sleeping with the "enemy."
But I am confident it will happen -- the need is too great. Your thoughts -- and perhaps even your energy and leadership -- can help make it happen.
THE LEFT RIGHT ALLIANCE
The Left Right Alliance is a coalition of Republicans, Democrats, and independents who reject the politics of fear, hate, and demonization that are tearing the country apart. We respect one another. We are not afraid to discuss and debate our views, to deepen our knowledge, sharpen our thinking, and when convinced, change our minds. We do not shrink from opposing one another when we believe the other to be wrong, but we know that we each have the nation's best interests at heart. We battle when we need to, but above all, we actively seek solutions that can bring us together. When we find common solutions, we hold both Democratic and Republican candidates accountable to them, and base our support for them in part on their willingness to reach across party lines to support what is best for the nation as a whole.
WHAT DOES THE ALLIANCE DO?
1. Find Solutions. We bring together the best of the left and right, on any issue -- no matter how divisive -- to identify solutions that meet the core principles of both.
2. Mobilize Power. When we find common solutions, we mobilize power strategically, to focus it on advancing common solutions.
3. Hold Politicians Accountable. We hold candidates and elected officials accountable for supporting genuine solutions.
4. Implement Solutions. We bring together business, citizens, and government to actually put solutions into place.
We begin with the issue of energy -- because it encompasses security, peace, prosperity, and sustainability. But we are ready to take on any of the challenges that face the nation and world.
THE HEAD AND HEART OF AMERICAN POLITICS
Why should Democrats and Republicans come together? Because the left and the right are the feminine and masculine of American politics -- the heart and the head, the purpose and the power, the meaning and the means. Liberal caring is the heart of American politics, the purpose -- it tells us what we want to be. Conservative discipline, the type that Bush forgot about, that derives from scientific rationalism, is the means of American politics, the power -- it tells us how to get there. Neither the masculine nor the feminine are whole on their own - they need one another. When we unite the "what" and the "how," the purpose with the power, we birth solutions.
We can't achieve the liberal goal of universally accessible health care, for example, if we don't apply the conservative principle of fiscal responsibility, and drive down today's costs. We can't create jobs, without profits to pay for them. We can't stop war and environmental destruction, if we don't build a clean, smart, low-carbon economy to replace our consumptive industrial one.
MARS AND VENUS: 20 REMINDERS FOR THE TWO PARTIES
To live together in the same political household, it's important to remind each that, while they seem to come from different planets, they actually flourish together on this one planet. The caricatures painted by true-believers on each side may make it sound preposterous, but the truth is, each has a legitimate role. Each must accept certain truths about itself, and the other, to play well together. Here are a few.
10 REMINDERS FOR DEMOCRATS
1. Looking compassionate is not the same as being compassionate.
2. Crutches disable as often as they enable -- use them as briefly and wisely as possible.
3. Giving power to government is not the same as giving power to people.
4. Most profit is virtuous - it encourages people to create value for others.
5. It's more important to create value than redistribute it.
6. You can't give away what you don't own.
7. Government is to advance justice and order. Business is to advance ingenuity and prosperity. Don't hire one to do the other's job.
8. More work does not mean more jobs.
9. Most evil is the work of good people doing what's best for their family.
10. War is sometimes necessary. Some objectives must be fought for.
10 REMINDERS FOR REPUBLICANS
1. Rigidity is not Strength. Close-mindedness is not confidence.
2. You can't promote the Bill of Rights by violating it.
3. You can't advance democracy by imposing it by force.
4. Brave and Free, not fearful and insecure, are the qualities great leaders inspire.
5. Supporting free enterprise is not the same as protecting one company or industry
6. Freedom means owning both the benefits and the costs of one's actions
7. In military matters, Smart is as important as Strong.
8. Terrorists hope you will fire back wildly. Don't do their recruitment for them. You cannot protect 300 million rich by frightening 3 billion poor.
9. Those who seek liberty through security lose both. Security is the result, not the foundation, of liberty.
10. The "Last Resort" should be the last resort.
AND THREE REMINDERS FOR BOTH:
1. There is no "them." There is only us.
2. Things aren't that bad -- yet -- and those enemies of yours not that "evil."
3. They may have the answer you are looking for - the missing piece for your puzzle. Talk to them, and see if you can find it.
Some specific questions I have:
The Name -- is there a better one? Is it best to clearly "say it" like this? Or is it better to adopt a less stark, more implicit name, like "The Alliance," " United something," "Fuse," or "Us," etc?
The First Issue -- Energy. I've chosen this because it's the most bipartisan issue we work on at Future 500, so it's not as much of a stretch for us. But should we choose a different issue, or none at all?
The Practicality. I'm aware this is "almost impossible." But since it's necessary, I am confident it will happen -- just a matter of time. Nonetheless, I want you to point to the necessary components, and the stumbling blocks, so we can anticipate and plan for them.
The Founder. Is that you?
Follow Bill Shireman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Future500