The same can be said about the turbulent storm that’s been hailing down on our country’s discourse. Particularly after a national tragedy — Oklahoma City, 9/11, Tucson — the hyper-partisan politicos, cable TV screaming heads and ideological flamebloggers all pledge to tamp down their rhetoric as they wax poetically about civility. And then, inevitably, they return to their partisan corners, crucifying the other side over the next urgent issue.
Today, we launch The Recovering Politician to provide a civilized forum as an antidote to our nation’s toxic addiction to vitriol and demonization. Here is a place for debating and discussing the issues of the day — politics, sports, pop culture, religion, you name it — without the finger-pointing and blame-assigning that’s all too typical on the Web and among our more crass media.
Your host and frequent commentator is Jonathan Miller, the Recovering Politician. The RP is a proud progressive Kentucky Democrat, but he’s learned that we must put aside our labels on occasion to work for the common good.
The RP does not belong to a traditional 12-step program, but as a great admirer of friends who have battled real addictions, and a proud advocate of programs that empower them (see Recovery Kentucky), the RP has learned that many of the same principles espoused in recovery — candor, humility, compassion — can be a valuable tonic for our system at large and the players within.
The RP will be joined by dozens of other contributors — recovering politicians who’ll offer their own ideas about how to fix America’s most intractable problems: climate change, skyrocketing health care costs, our multi-trillion-dollar debt, crowning a college football national champion, celebrity idolatry, mom jeans, yadda, yadda, yadda. (OK, maybe not mom jeans; too polarizing…)
Like The RP, the site’s contributors are in the process of trying to prove F. Scott Fitzgerald wrong: that there are second (and third, and fourth…) acts in American lives. You’ll get the perspective of those who’ve survived the arena, and now are free to offer their critiques, unburdened by political pressures. You’ll hear from all sides of the spectrum, as well as from folks who’ve already carved their niche in the real world to share their expertise.
Every week day, the site will also feature a handful of “The RP’s Weekly Web Gems”: a set of links focused on a particular issue (i.e., the environment, health care, fashion. the NFL), culled by the RP’s crack staff, that reflect the best civil discourse on the Web.
Be forewarned: civility does NOT imply preciously-sincere, campfire-style appeals for spiritual unity. Nor does it require compromising core beliefs, watering down faith or appeasing bullies. Expect passionately-opinionated, controversial, imagination-provoking posts. Get ready for vigorous, rigorous debate. But all within the spirit of mutual respect and a determination to advance us all to workable solutions.
And you’re encouraged to join the fray and make some helpful noise: Please share your comments, early and often, through your Facebook account. It’s easy.
At a minimum, please share your thoughts on the site itself through your comments. And if you like what you read, please recommend articles via the buttons at the upper right of every post and share them with your friends through the buttons at the bottom.
One last admonition: Please be patient. It may take us a few days to complete our mission to rescue the nation from its polarizing, paralyzing discord. Then, and only then, will we try to do something — finally! — about improving the weather around here…