The announcement by Governor Walker of his support for the Confluence Project brought to mind a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald. The quote goes as follows: "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function."
I saw the quote the night of Walker's announcement, while watching Lawrence O'Donnell's return to MSNBC following an car accident that led to his receiving surgery at a hospital funded in-part by David Koch. O'Donnell related the quote to how he can praise Koch's being a benefactor of medicine and the arts while abhorring his political practices. Coincidentally -- or not -- earlier in the day, upon learning the news of Walker's Confluence backing, I had come to a smaller-scale realization: I dislike much of Gov. Walker's policies and tactics and definitely hopes a Democrat wins the governorship this fall, yet I am happy and satisfied that he backs the Confluence. There is no cognitive dissonance here: a person can have mostly-different political views and still match my desires on occasion, and there is nothing wrong with that.
We do live in an increasingly black-or-white -- or, perhaps, red-or-blue -- society, where our favored party or ideology is always right and the other is always wrong, and those who generally represent those parties and ideologies can either do no wrong or no right. Of course, most all of us have some perspectives that match what we consider our opposites -- and we do well to acknowledge when politicians from other parties make proposals that match our sentiments and desires.
On the whole, I will always prefer the policies of a prospective Gov. Mary Burke than Gov. Walker, but he absolutely deserves praise from people who mostly support the Confluence like me (even the Confluence Project has flaws -- it is neither a panacea nor an albatross). If he is re-elected, while I generally will likely be dissatisfied with his approach to governorship, I do appreciate that he would help push the Confluence to fruition.
As a caller pointed out this morning on "790 Today," Gov. Walker's statement took many of us out of our comfort zones. For the sake of making progress in modern politics, this is a good thing. Let's continue to find ways to see all sides -- functioning is a lot easier than we expect.