Republicans and Democrats? Liberals and conservatives? The Left and the Right?
Fox News and MSNBC, for Heaven’s sake? Together? At the same place? In the same room?
It really happened. I was there at the Harvard University Law School along with more than 400 other folks who came from near and far to talk about the United States of America. About what’s wrong with our country. And about what can be done to fix it.
Billed as ConConCon, it was a conference designed to launch a campaign for calling a convention under Article V of the U.S. Constitution to consider amendments.
It would be a convention that could give the people of the states a way to change the way politics works in Washington D.C. It would be a convention that could talk about things and propose things that Congress will never talk about and never do.
Term limits. Balanced budgets. And the money. Money that flows like raw sewage from K Street to the Capital. Money that corrupts. Money that influences. Money that changes our nation from a democratic republic to a sinister oligarchy of career politicians, corporate fat cats, ward healing bosses, and the lobbyists who tie them all together.
I went like Marley’s ghost. Ten or fifteen years older than anyone in the room, I was writing and speaking about a convention when many of them were watching Sesame Street.
It warmed my heart to see and hear this new generation of patriots.
Larry Lessig, the brilliant, liberal, Harvard professor, leading an all star cadre of academics and activists, keynoting the conference from the left with a witty and passionate power point presentation.
Mark Meckler, the self-effacing small town lawyer from northern California, whose Lincolnesque eloquence has thrust him into the leadership of the Tea Party Patriots, making the case for his constitutents’ support of an Article V convention.
If the room was packed with citizens who came to listen and learn, to find out what can be done about the mess in Washington and see how they can lend a hand, it was also sprinkled with drum beaters who brought their own agendas, and touted their particular versions of the road to revival.
They all have high sounding names, web sites, plans and ideas. The Alliance for Democracy. Americans United to Rebuild Democracy. Public Check on Congress. The Madison Amendment. Move To Amend. WeThePeople. Rootstrikers.
A cacophony of solutions for the same laundry list of problems, looking for harmony. Trying to find the common ground. What can we do together? Where do we go from here?
Annabel Park, a co-founder of the Coffee Party said it was like being on a first date. So far, so good. Now, what’s next?
It was, indeed, a most remarkable coming together. The speeches were uniformly marked with civility and deference. While several, including the distinguished Harvard University Professor, Lawrence Tribe, were skeptical about the wisdom or efficacy of a convention, there was no debunking, no ridicule, no attempt to stifle the common effort.
Only one voice sang off key; a fanatic, radical socialist who used his minute at the microphone to hawk his Socialist Constitution and accuse the Tea Party of racism.
He got an audible groan from the crowd and an admonition from the chair.
Of course, I went to Cambridge with some flyers of my own, inviting conferees to register as delegates to Convention USA, a place on the Internet where ordinary people can work together to find the best solutions to our national dilemma.
If Harvard was a first date, maybe those good folks will want to go steady some day.
The vehicle is right there at www.conventionusa.org.