Southern Oregon PTV brings together Tea Party, Occupy guests for dialogue

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Immense Possibilities, Southern Oregon Public Television’s weekly hybrid local-national community affairs show in Medford, Ore., has invited two right-wing Tea Party activists and two members of the left-wing Occupy movement for an on-air, online “groundbreaking dialogue” at 7:30 Pacific on Tuesday (Jan. 10). “To explore the path to a healthier political community,” said the Occupy Ashland website, “we decided to take up a question that has been brewing for months across the country: When the bumper-sticker slogans are brushed away, how much do these very different-looking movements have in common? Is the time ripe for an alliance that would shake politics and economics at their roots?”

“Grassroots activism has engaged more and more people in the past couple of years, and raised the temperature of politics,” according to the show’s website. “It can divide communities. Can it help build them? Can people from very different political backgrounds find common ground?”

The show is produced by Jeff Golden, former host of Jefferson Exchange on NPR.

UPDATE: The Ashland Daily Tidings newspaper reports that since the show’s taping, the four have gotten together twice, participated in an online political channel and started a regular email conversation, said Joseph Snook, a Tea Party member from Grants Pass, Ore. “We have a lot of common ground and are similar in our frustration with government and big business,” Snook said. “But Occupy holds big business accountable and my frustration is with the government because I vote for them.” He said the four panelists are taking their conversation beyond Immense Possibilities. “We’re trying to join together on things we all agree on,” he said. “I’m very enthusiastic about what Occupy is doing locally.”

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