One more semi-West Wing inspired line – and then I’m done, honestly.
Got in to it on Facebook last week with a number of political activists and a local party leader. (By the way: one of the really good things about politics in Northern Ireland is that I’ve found, generally, that politicians of all stripes and levels are very accessible).
Context of the discussion aside, the point I was trying to get to was this: where is the line between standing immovably for a principle, and reaching out to those on the other side?
I asked how we bring about a change of heart in those who stand against us on an issue.
The party leader said that she felt progress wasn’t progress if the people involved didn’t have a real change of heart: that is, really care for those opposed to them. She also pointed out that my question was predicated on the assumption that everyone is open to a change of heart – and is this really the case?
Wikipedia says ‘Practical idealism‘ is:
a philosophy that holds it to be an ethical imperative to implement ideals of virtue or good. It further holds it to be equally immoral to either refuse to make the compromises necessary to realise high ideals, or to discard ideals in the name of expediency.
The activist who initiated the discussion argued passionately that although we should try and keep debates as positive as possible, he was also tired of constantly giving ground and allowing misinformation to prosper. Unlike me, he wasn’t willing to give any credit to someone who he saw as only changing their views upon realising that an issue might actually affect ‘people like me’.
As I said in reply: I have no idea where the line is between pragmatism and calling people out. But I do believe both voices are needed in the discussion.