Divided Commonality

Britain and America, “two nations, divided by a common language,” have reached an ideological parting of the ways despite symmetry of politics, writes The Washington Post.

"’Two nations, divided by a common language’ is how somebody once described Britain and America. ‘Two nations, divided by a common politics’ is another way to put it. Ever since the days of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, the political fortunes of the United States and Britain have tracked and reflected one another in odd ways. For many years they moved in tandem: The harmonious center-right union of Thatcher-Reagan was followed by the equally harmonious, if less affectionate, center-left union of Tony Blair and Bill Clinton. But then came Blair-Bush, which worked out rather badly for Blair. Now we have Brown-Obama, who barely speak to each other. And even though in Gordon Brown and Barack Obama we once again have two ‘center-left’ candidates in charge, a distinct lack of harmony characterizes transatlantic political debates. Our health-care conversations, for example, are totally different. This became apparent last year when Republicans held up the British health-care system as an example of the nightmare that might await America if Obama's health-care proposals were passed. British conservatives -- who had been bashing their centralized system for years -- immediately rallied to its defense."

Befriend your ideological opposite. It’s fun.

Step inside the unlikely friendship of a former ACLU president and an ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia were unlikely friends. They debated each other at events all over the world, and because of that developed a deep and rewarding friendship – despite their immense differences.
  • Scalia, a famous conservative, was invited to circles that were not his "home territory", such as the ACLU, to debate his views. Here, Strossen expresses her gratitude and respect for his commitment to the exchange of ideas.
  • "It's really sad that people seem to think that if you disagree with somebody on some issues you can't be mutually respectful, you can't enjoy each other's company, you can't learn from each other and grow in yourself," says Strossen.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
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