I am frequently struck by the notion, "well that's politics" or "I mean, what would you expect?" Problem solving and political posturing are approached in a certain way right now, and I believe people think that this is what we must accept.
I disagree wholeheartedly. The government we have is the government we have accepted and brought to power by ourselves. In order for lying to work as a strategy, Americans must willingly accept the lies. In order for gridlock and partisan bickering to be the status of our country - Americans must accept it. Well, I don't accept it. If America is so exceptional, let's live up to that. Let's live up to it in our behavior and our rhetoric.
If we want a government that is focused on solving problems then we have to vote against anyone, from either party, who is not willing to work everywhere possible to find solutions.
The brilliance of our system is that legislation can be tugged in multiple directions, by all the different political perspectives that exist. In life though, there is not one right answer. Many times, people can have two entirely opposing opinions and both are right. Compromise brings the strength of each of those opposing opinions to problem solving and allows us to generate stronger results.
Who Provides the Answers?
Neither personal responsibility, the free market, nor government are the answer to all of our problems. The synergy and teamwork between all of us -- operating on each of those levels -- creates the engine. Our secret sauce is our mixed market approach. Our flexibility and dynamic comes from having all these sides at play for the same team. No one side provides the answers. We are all in this together. We rise and fall together.
Integrity in Politics
Both sides have reason to question integrity of leaders and candidates. We should hold both sides' feet to the fire on this. If we want integrity in politics then we have to be equally offended by any leader or party bending the truth. As American citizens we choose our government. If we want a government that runs with higher honesty and integrity than we must form a wave of backlash for both sides when that trust is breached. We must as Americans make it too politically costly to lie to us.
People will have honest disagreements. Politics on many levels is a game of passion. This means that these disagreements flare up more strongly -- often arising from both the heart and the mind. How can we have honest disagreements and still find common ground?
Tonight, I spoke with a man who felt that "of course the top political priority is to get your opposition out of office." I wholeheartedly reject that notion. During an election season -- sure -- have at it. During the operating time in Congress, during a crisis, this is unacceptable. Running 24 x 7 campaigns for power every year -- beyond election years -- is a recipe for disaster in our country. We won't be able to get things done. America will suffer for it. America will lose because of it. In order to put America first we must remove the microscope that judges every whisper of a leader. We must allow room for them to compromise. We must compromise and allow opposing views to work in synergy. We must have honest disagreements and yet still find alternate solutions to the problems that we can agree on. America will boom again when all parties involved work together in seamless cooperation to assure that it does. When it is everyman, or every party for itself, we will fail. The Chinese will outrun us.
This is my call to action
1. Come to the debate with solutions.
2. Combine your solutions into a plan with people who think entirely differently than you.
3. Leave yourself areas where you are willing to compromise.
4. Leave scorched Earth politics behind. Romney and Obama are both highly successful and talented people. Let's zero in on the policy products that their brains produced. Let's not lower it to a level where we believe we have to choose from the lesser of two evils. Whoever wins the election will have to work with people from both parties. Let's approach the rhetoric in a way that allows that to remain a possibility.
5. Quit the selective outrage. If you see a lapse in integrity be very vocal and vigilant about it regardless of party. Our politics becomes more honest when we let our leaders know that anything but honesty is unacceptable.
6. Let's set the example here on Policymic.
Here, at Policymic let's be what we hope the best of our government would be. Let's start where we are and build it from here. Cooperation is the key to success.