More than 50 years ago, Marshall McLuhan predicted that information technology would bind the whole world together in a series of interconnected networks, creating a new era of mutual understanding that he called the “global village.”

Well, he was partly right. It’s true that we can share information like never before, and it doesn’t matter where you are in the world when it comes to building community.

But a global village? Politically, at least, we are more tribal than ever.

When you have no barrier to publishing information and a practically infinite choice of what to read, people tend to pick the sources that reinforce their views. It’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet: There may be a whole table of food to choose from, but you can only eat so much. Most people are going to load up on their favorites.

In this polarized world, I like to think the newspaper opinion pages are a rare exception. We may be one of the last places in America where people who disagree with each other interact on a daily basis. Even if you hate every editorial we write, you should be able to find a column, cartoon or letter to the editor that reflects your point of view. We operate under the idea that we can all learn something valuable from the give and take.

Starting Sunday we will be adding a feature that is built on give and take. It’s a column called “Agree to Disagree,” written by Ethan Strimling and Phil Harriman, two former state senators from different sides of the aisle.

This feature is “new” only to us. Strimling and Harriman have been appearing as a duo on radio and television since 2006. Two years ago, they started writing a column for another newspaper, and publishing a blog. We are happy to say that starting May 25, the Maine Sunday Telegram and will be the home for their efforts going forward.

I’ve always admired what they bring to the world of political analysis in Maine. Both are obviously well-connected with their political parties (Strimling, the Democrats; Harriman, the Republicans) and can relay what people on the inside are thinking but may not want to say.

But if you’ve seen them on the air, you’ve seen something else. Despite their political differences, you can tell that these two partisans actually like and respect each other. Their disagreements open up the debate – they don’t shut it down. Some Mainers will never hear a reasonable explanation of the Republican point of view unless it’s coming out of Harriman’s mouth, and vice versa with Strimling and Democrats.

“When Phil and I first joined forces in 2006, we committed to each other that we didn’t want to be Fox News or MSNBC,” Strimling said. “We weren’t looking to get into shouting matches or try to beat the other up. Our goal was dialogue.”

It’s the kind of political debate that used to be common, but is hard to find today.

“When I was first elected to the Maine Senate 20 years ago, politics was all about heated debates on policy, budget and issues,” Harriman said. “Today it seems that politics is more about pitting us against one another, like the ‘1 percenters’ vs. the Occupiers, the global warmers vs. deniers, or media biased towards liberalism and right-wing radio.”

As we gear up for what is the most anticipated gubernatorial race in Maine history, that kind of balance should be a welcome presence. With the addition of Strimling and Harriman, these newspapers and websites will have a team of Maine political commentators that is both deep and diverse.

Along with “Agree to Disagree” the Telegram will continue to offer the work of Dan Demeritt, a communications consultant who once served as spokesman for Gov. LePage, and Michael Cuzzi, a former Democratic campaign operative who worked for then-Sen. Barack Obama during his first presidential run.

Every Friday M.D. Harmon presents his view from the right side. On alternating Saturdays we pair columns by liberal activist Mike Tipping and conservative Steve Robinson. On Thursdays Alan Caron writes about politics and the new economy from an independent perspective, and every other Tuesday economist Susan Feiner unpacks numbers that show the effects of the policy choices we make.

It’s a great team, but I can’t pretend that every point of view is represented. It’s almost all men and almost all people associated with a major political party, which doesn’t match the political dynamic of this state.

No group of columnists could ever cover everything. That’s why we publish letters to the editor and Maine Voices columns every day to provide a forum where people can challenge each other and maybe even learn something.

There’s always room for more opposing views on these pages, and if we can’t come together as a global village, maybe at least we can “agree to disagree.”

Greg Kesich is the editorial page editor. He can be contacted at 791-6481 or: [email protected]