|Our discussions would be passionate, not polarizing. I am libertarian democrat, which I define as socially left and a believer in the celebration of liberty for all consenting adults. And, I firmly believe in fiscal conservatism, in which, the social contract allows for the "true balance" and "pragmatic" approach in paying for new and old governmental programs alike. Warner, on the other hand, is an old school conservative. He is not Tea Party conservative. He is a man that is fair minded and willing to listen to other perspectives. This also means he understands that compromise may be necessary to foster consensus and that compromise is not a four letter word.
I am a pragmatic centrist. I see fanaticism (on either side of the aisle) as a death knell to liberty and hindering the civil evolution and justice of America's promise. Warner sees the need for the conservation of American principles and that the cultural mores of traditionalism are grounded in the principality of capital markets and small government. The largess of government binds us and hinders liberty and the freedom of individualism. We both believe that the radicalization of politics is omnipresent and that the effect of American political discourse is at critical. Thus, our discussions over the years have been sometimes contentious, sometimes antithetical of pragmatism, yet Warner and I found ways to respect each other viewpoints.
Tonight, my meeting of Warner confirmed for me that we as Americans are, in principal, closer together in our values than apart. While the meeting tonight was not -- "My Dinner with Andre" -- it was definitely conversational. The ability to have a full dialog with opposing viewpoints was refreshing. We discussed Occupy Wall Street, the Tea Party, and the GOP Presidential hopefuls, and, of course, the radicalization of politics in brief.
Upfront was Herman Cain, which I described as a wolf in sheep clothing - a RINO - that is placating the base. Warner saw Herman Cain as a candidate that is not ready for prime time (and I agree). He expressed his concern over Herman Cain's temperament after meeting and observing Mr. Cain on several occasions. Furthermore, setting aside sexual harassment accusation (which we felt was an opposition Republican candidate doing instead of the MSM or a "left-wing democratic conspiracy") against Mr. Cain, it is quite apparent that Cain's organizational and knowledge skills are limited. We both agreed that Cain is not ready for being President (may be the Department of Transportation).
Meanwhile, though each was not discussed in full, the GOP field seems to be imploding in some fashion. Rick Perry was discussed more and how the hope of him (Perry) became deflated soon after he join the race.and another candidate that is not ready for prime time. Leaving me with the impression that Warner was still searching for a candidate that could truly challenge President Barack Obama in 2012. We had in the past online discussions his dislike of Mitt Romney and other candidates in the field.
Our other in depth discussion was Occupy Wall Street movement and the Tea Party. We both agreed that each movement is founded in the frustration with our political system. The discussion set aside the extreme examples of reporting of each group. Admittedly, the Occupy movement has more clashes with authorities and thereby discrediting the movement. Yet, n Denver, the Occupy Denver movement, for the most part, has been tame with a few exceptions and embodies some of the principles (link here) and eight rules of the Occupy Wall Street. The main difference between the Tea Party and Occupy "movement" is that, Occupy movement is organic, in that, it is still its infancy, while the Tea Party over the same amount of time had been infiltrated by corporate money, such as Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity. This infiltration has been called by the media as "Astroturf" money.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has not fully utilized the "interests group" yet, in part, because the money interest sees the Occupiers as rudderless and leaderless. My fascination with the Occupy movement, as a cultural anthropologist, is to see how the eventual shape of the movement will evolve -- if at all. One of the questions I proposed to Warner was, will the Democratic National Committee (DNC), President Obama grass roots organization, and other left-leaning interests take advantage of the energy of the Occupy movement?
The final topics of our discussion was our perspective state parties (Colorado and Illinois) both republican and democratic, each discussing the flaws and corruption (more in Warner's home state of Illinois than in Colorado). We both agree that for the citizenry, the Tea Party, and Occupy movement need to be involve on the local level to affect change in policy not just emote fiery rhetoric and react in hapless platitudes. The true change in policy begins in the city councils around the country and if we, as a nation, are to correct the direction of this country. then it will require more involvement by the citizenry not just the extremists. Thus, the meeting of the liberty right and the liberty left was concluded -- and we both found that our long acquaintance online had been founded in respect and that we had more in common than differences....