My name is Tom Bird. I retired in 2011, after 40-some years of work in programs directed to poverty, juvenile delinquency, and the education of teachers. These days, I spend a good deal of time reading the news and related reports and publications, and trying to figure out what it all might mean.
Since 1968, when I first voted, I have registered as a Democrat, and I have usually voted for Democrats, on a simple ground: Over a range of issues, and over a period of years, a Democrat is more likely than a Republican to take positions that I could support.
I bet a lot of people decide how to vote mainly on the basis of party affiliation. I also bet that many of us cannot be certain whether we chose our party because we hold the positions we do, or whether we hold the positions we do because we chose our party. Joining a group has effects on us.
For me, voting on the basis of a party affiliation has a clear implication: Our elected officials, Democrats and Republicans, will have to negotiate compromises in order to govern the country–and I and many others will have to support them in doing so.
While I identify as a Democrat, my habits and inclinations are those of a Pragmatic centrist. One thing this means is that I believe that both the liberal inclination and the conservative implication are products of our biological and social evolution, and so both are likely to be functional (useful) in a variety of situations. Further, I think those inclinations are most likely to be useful in a condition of communication, cooperation, and compromise between them.
Which brings me to the problem that this site addresses: In our polarization, which has been increasing since about the 1970’s, we see much less in the way of communication, cooperation, and compromise between the parties, so we are less and less able to govern ourselves effectively. In this site, I try to understand how and why our polarization increased, and how it affects our thinking, behavior, and politics.
Also, I try to avoid speaking and writing in ways that make the problem worse.