This is a question I've been contemplating since my contretemps with a self-proclaimed tea bagger relative less than ten days ago. The heart of the matter is whether or not we can agree on the same facts, because if not, then it must be admitted that any concordance is impossible and we must be in perpetual hostility. (People are entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts.) This could also be taken as a sign that the nation is perpetually polarized and there will always be two nations - one 'Red', one 'Blue', at least to a first approximation.
Another factor one must consider is the level of insight, critical thinking ability and education. Though people may not like to admit it, these all bear on the person's access to and grasp of facts without which common ground is impossible. Does this mean everyone must have gone to college? No, only that they have open and inquiring minds and are prepared to have their pet beliefs challenged and defend them via their own logic and argumentation as opposed to taking the easy path of telling your opponent to "read the book." Of whomever.
It also presumes the person is prepared to educate himself beyond high school, and not restrict himself to one avenue of information - say FOX News, or right wing news channels. (Left wing sources should obviously be checked too - as I showed with numerous posts in February and March on how MSNBC was not getting its facts straight to do with the Ukraine crisis. I also showed in other posts the conspiracy phobia infecting many on the Left and why they need to surmount it - because it diminishes their argumentation capacity.)
One sign that a person is on the right track is that s/he welcomes new knowledge - especially emanating from opponents and doesn't regard it as the signature of a "know it all" - which is a derogatory, anti-intellectual term. The use of such a detraction shows that those who use it are neither critical thinkers or that they welcome new knowledge, facts etc. It instead shows a fear of knowledge - perhaps born of a lack of enough exposure during their elementary or high school years.
So what political basic facts should we all be able to agree upon? (Noting these will also impinge on areas of economics, history and science). I set them out as follows:
1) We no longer inhabit a democracy or Republic but a corporatocracy which is run by and for the benefit of corporations.
2) The two primary political parties are themselves corporate parties - running off the dime of Big Business. The Dem version we call Neoliberal, the Republican is more Neocon - twisting the economy to serve the war state.
3) Our history is told as a form of propaganda - especially regarding the wars we've fought - most of which were based on pretexts.
4) Global warming science is valid and 97% of actual climate scientists - not "liberals". - ACCEPT it. Also, the effects are going on all around us and are supported by quality science.
5) Our nation is beset by fundamental economic inequality which at root can be traced to a too small tax base and tax rates -given what the nation seeks to support.
6) Too much of the tax commons goes to military spending and is wasted.
7) Our health system suffers from too uneven a quality and not enough health professionals where needed.
8) Presidential elections are virtually meaningless and are merely portrayed as a 'horse race' between two top contenders. Very little real information is brought out for citizens.
9) The political system itself is corrupted by money and won't be fixed until we cease saying money is "speech" and allowing it to sway our elections.
10) Religion is far too involved in our politics and needs to be exposed more to Jefferson's "wall of separation". Having a religion also should not be a determinant of whether a person is qualified to run for public office.
I'd like to believe reasonable citizens can agree on even half of these - but that remains to be seen!