The Emerging Transpartisan Field in American Politics

Transpartisanship Defined

Transpartisanship represents an emerging field in political thought distinct from bipartisanship, which aims to negotiate between “right” and “left,” resulting in a dualistic perspective, and nonpartisanship, which tends to avoid political affiliation altogether. Rather, transpartisanship acknowledges the validity of truths across a range of political perspectives and seeks to synthesize them into an inclusive, pragmatic container beyond typical political dualities.In practice, transpartisan solutions emerge out of a new kind of public conversation that moves beyond polarization by applying proven methods of facilitated dialogue, deliberation and conflict resolution. In this way it is possible to achieve the ideal of a democratic republic by integrating the values of a democracy — freedom, equality, and a regard for the common good, with the values of a republic — order, responsibility and security.

The Transpartisan Field

Transpartisanship is increasingly being used to describe the collaborative efforts of citizens and leaders who seek to discover and implement the best possible policies regardless of political ideology. Transpartisanship practices and methods are currently being employed by all levels of government (national, state, and local), various citizen groups, nonprofit organizations, corporations, consulting and conflict-resolution firms, university programs and more. Together these efforts have generated a considerable body of work that is forming the Transpartisan field.

History of the Emerging Transpartisan Field

Like most modern schools of political or social thought it is difficult to pinpoint the exact origin of Transpartisanship. The term was used as early as the late 1980’s when it appeared in an essay titled “Self-Reliant Defense: Without Bankruptcy or War,” by American scholars Gene Sharp and Bruce Jenkins of the Albert Einstein Institute. Sharp and Jenkins state: “whether the proposal is to add a civilian-based resistance component or to transform to a full civilian-based defense policy, the presentation, consideration, and decision should not be made on an ideological or partisan basis. Instead, civilian-based options in defense need to be presented and evaluated in a “Transpartisan” manner-not tied to any doctrinal outlook or narrow group.” This early use of the term Transpartisanship emphasized the selection of best practices regardless of specific political ideologies. The ideas behind Transpartisanship have quickly spread into other disciplines including politics, society, culture, economics etc.

Emerging Elements of the Transpartisanship Field

  • Transpartisanship is a vibrant and evolving field; however there are a few key concepts that are especially characteristic:
  • All systems are interdependent – All things are fundamentally interconnected influence one another, which in turn validates each individual component (or belief). Transpartisanship therefore honors each belief and strives to fully integrate it into the system, thus achieving equilibrium.
  • All points of view are equally valuable – Every belief or view can be important in reaching collaborative decisions.
  • Optimal solutions are reached through honest and authentic dialogue – In order to arrive at practical and sustainable solutions all viewpoints can be shared openly and honestly.
  • Disagreement can be an asset – Disagreements over an issue need not undermine consensus if all parties are willing to harness existing tension to find common ground. New alliances will naturally form and collaboration will often reveal previously unanticipated solutions that can satisfy all those involved.
  • The public must take responsibility for being heard – Transpartisanship holds that good decisions are made by considering a wide range of opinions. Reintegrating the public at large into the conversation can enhance the range of opinions and lead to better decisions.
  • Need to protect the sovereignty of the individual – While the role of the community is undoubtedly vital for reaching effective solutions, so too is the need to protect individuals from the dictates of the collective. Views and opinions may only be expressed honestly when the individual is free from coercion.

Note: Transpartisanship in currently an evolving field and therefore lacks a unitary definition or set of core values. The definition and values listed above should be seen as a guideline to begin the discourse over Transpartisanship, not a terminus.

One Planet Conversations – Annie Loyd & Renée Morgan Brooks

WHAT: What can Annie Loyd and Renée Morgan Brooks do together in one evening? Come and find out as One Planet magazine celebrates positive visions and solutions for all of us. This month, One Planet Conversations proudly presents our publisher, Annie Loyd, speaking on “Together – We Can Make the Change.” Are you confused by the “conservatives” but leery of the “liberals?”

Are you weary of the war and peeved at pundits of both major parties? Have you almost or already given up on voting? Do you ever wonder if Oneness can be applied for results and resolutions? Join us for a dialogue and discussion on transpartisan politics, the transformational politics of hope.

Let Renée Morgan Brooks raise your soul with song and Annie Loyd lift your heart with hope. Be part of the dialogue as Annie shares her inspiring message of healing yesterday’s political wounds, standing in the Consciousness of today, and bringing forth the Vision for tomorrow. Will you find out you’re a Planetarian?

WHERE: Creative Living Fellowship 6530 N. 7th St., Phoenix, AZ 85014
WHEN: Thursday, September 20th6:30 to 8 p.m.
COST: There is no cost, but a love offering will be accepted.
RSVP: Reservations are appreciated! Please call Janine at Diamond Life Creators at 480-217-1720, or email: http://us.f316.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=oneplanetmagazine@yahoo.comwith the number of people you are bringing.

Beyond Left & Right: Toward A New Transpartisan Politics

In today’s post-partisan world, left-right, liberal-conservative, Republican-Democrat lack useful significance in describing a complete picture of contemporary politics. These 19th century shopworn terms fail to include a new large post-partisan demographic which is emerging and has yet to find a polity truly expressive of its interests.

This new demographic can be characterized as beyond the stale and often meaningless terms left and right. They are socially expansive in that they look to create and participate in new communities that transcend but include conventional boundaries. That means they see value in tradition and conventions but are not limited by them. They seek community life and are willing to try new roles out within those communities but not at the expense of their own selves. They seek decisions being taken by consensus (i.e. democratically), but are not willing to lose their own sense of self or their rights.

They are ecologically sensitive and personally experimental. They care about their environment and their own health. Personally experimental refers to their willingness to play with their own consciousness, social roles and conventional rules.

Another reason this group of people can be considered beyond left and right is that their critique of power consists of both those from the traditional American left and the old right. They are concerned with all forms of concentrated power and authority. Government bothers them as much as transnational corporations. They look askance at the media, consumer culture, government propaganda, authoritarian religious institutions, and our so-called educational systems.

These post-partisan people are also called transpartisan because they see the value in partisan worldviews but do not limit themselves to any particular value set within a partisan system. For instance, they see the importance to a lot of people of traditional religion and although they might not be so inclined to believe and live the same way, they do not seek to destroy or denigrate people’s conservative religious beliefs. It is a live and let live mindset within the boundaries of individual rights and persuasion.

The transpartisan mindset allows for greater cooperation between what appears to be conflicting worldviews. Basically, people who are transpartisan can and do play well with others. They are willing and quite able to form political and social coalitions to solve immediate and long term problems. You can find them in many of the alternative cultural movements like home-schooling, integrative medicine, and organic food cooperatives, while at the same time living and participating in the conventional world.

They are setting the stage for a new political movement, which neither major party can, at this time, appreciate. And no minor political party can see this due to their ideological-purity blinders. More and more people are joining this group but, unfortunately, many still limit themselves with traditional party affiliations and inconsistencies in their politics. What I mean by the latter is that although they are experimental in their private lives and in many cases their community lives, they have not translated that mindset to their politics.

If they come from the left, then they might still favor one-size-fits-all programs and projects which actually denies human uniqueness, innovation, creativity and community diversity. If they come from the right, they might see corporate structure i.e. private power as the only means of organizing business life. This can deny human creativity and the importance of social relations and community values.

In time, the limits of the earlier partisan mindsets whether left or right will be transcended and the inconsistencies mentioned above will be reduced. The transpartisan mindset will help to create new cultures, new institutions and new ways of being in the world. This in turn will then reverberate in our body politics by changing the dynamics from a limited and narrow spectrum of discussion, belief, and action to much broader possibilities. It will help to move the power and decision-making from an elite group of technocrats, plutocrats and bureaucrats over towards individuals and communities.

Michael D. Ostrolenk is a Senior Editor of the Free Liberal.