Staking Out Higher Ground

By Steve McIntosh

It looks like Joe Biden has won the election. Yet America remains bitterly divided. Biden has pledged to be a unifier, but restoring the minimum social solidarity necessary for a functional democracy will be a daunting challenge. It now seems as though there’s little common ground left. So rather than searching for common ground, Biden needs to help America find authentically higher ground.

The higher ground we need can be found in an inclusive synthesis we’re calling “post-progressivism”—an emerging political perspective that transcends and includes progressivism with “something higher.” This post-progressive perspective is described at a “rational level” at this link. However, at this moment our national reconciliation needs to begin at a more emotional level. We therefore offer the following “plea” to our fellow Americans:

Staking Out Higher Ground

Dear Fellow Americans,

Let us take care of our country in her hour of need
May our grievances reflect our gratitude
May our challenges express our support
And may our pride and shame be mutually correcting

We feel the pain and alienation of Americans who remain marginalized and excluded
While we affirm the unprecedented opportunity and prosperity that American society continues to provide

We accept our obligation to atone for the misdeeds of America’s history
While we affirm the abundant ways that America makes the world a better place

We recognize the need for environmental sustainability and the preservation of nature
While we affirm the essential morality and ongoing necessity of a prosperous global economy

We revere our heritage and declare our loyalty to the best of who and what has come before
While we remain unsatisfied with the world as it is and affirm the need to keep improving

We honor the enduring values of all three American cultures—traditional, modern, and progressive
While we acknowledge that each of these cultures includes pathologies we must overcome

Our society is growing

So let us advance a politics of mutual respect in which everyone of good faith is welcome
Let us renew our nation’s political life through a new era of cooperation and kindness
Let us cherish our liberties and defend our nation’s integrity
And let us affirm that our winding way to a more evolved culture is a journey worth making

Showing 5 comments
  • Karen Everett

    Thanks for your plea, Steve. I loved how you balanced each plea with the value of another worldview. Keep up the great work.

  • Anthony Judge

    An initiative much to be appreciated. My concern is: how sharp are the questions to avoid more of the same in a new guise? The softer the questions the greater the appeal? Is there a bullet to be bitten? I would also worry at the use of the stake metaphor given the proposal of the Davos Forum for a Global Reset into “stakeholder capitalism”. Does the nature of “higher ground” allow for “staking out’?

  • Nils V Montan

    We just listened to Vice President Biden’s remarks on Friday Night and tears welled up in our eyes several times. So good to hear an American call for unity in the United States. We need this so badly.

  • Luke Comer

    Good work….

  • Roland Wheeler

    This is just what we need right now: “a politics of mutual respect in which everyone of good faith is welcome”

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