OK, the Mueller Report is out. But that’s not what this blog post is about. This post is about how politics could be conducted in the days and months ahead.
Right now, there are some very contentious problems are on the table and need solving. There are plenty to choose from. National debt. Opioids. Climate change. Maybe another recession. Automation. Foreign allies and enemies. Crumbling bridges. The high cost of housing. Food deserts. News deserts. Unfair laws. Unresponsive government. Name your own.
You might be forgiven for asking how anything could get solved in today’s political environment.
Democracy is not about who wins and who loses. It really isn’t. By way of analogy, consider your favorite sports team. Would you get joy from having your favorite sports team win even if the other team was actually better? Would you be happy to watch them win like that week after week for all time? Yay!? Nope. Boring. Plus, no incentive for your team to get any better, and no incentive for the other teams to keep playing because they know the system is rigged.
Instead, democracy is all about using free and fair political competition to motivate a contest of the best ideas for solving problems. Politics played as a contest of ideas requires voters and politicians alike to speak for themselves and to listen to others for their ideas.
If voters and their elected representatives were play the game this way – taking the best ideas wherever they come from – then we ALL win. We could have a pie that gets bigger every day instead of competing for a fixed number of slices.
Some more magic: politicians chosen by, and answerable to, citizens instead of politicians coming from the faction with the most guns (or money) and answerable to no-one. Or, in the new 21rst century style, politicians coming from the faction most successful in bending or breaking as many rules to their benefit as possible – and answerable to very, very few people.
Government by and for the people in the 21rst century requires citizens to lean on their politicians not to allow rule-breaking.
Even if that rule-breaking is done to benefit your own side? You bet. Even if. Because rule-breaking by your side today gives the other side a big fat excuse to do the same or worse right back at you.
There are a whole list of problems waiting to be solved. Not one of them will get solved by not listening, by talking for the other side, blaming, labeling, grandstanding, or by letting rule-breaking slide.
If you agree, help spread the word. Any of the following will help:
Find out who runs the state or local office of your preferred party, write to them, and let them know that now is the time for problem-solving across party lines rather than blaming, labeling, grandstanding, and rule-breaking.
Find out who is running for office before the primary election in your state. You can find that information from Ballotpedia, a non-partisan source of election information and much more. Push them to be problem-solvers. Push them to speak only for themselves and their fellow Americans, shame them for grandstanding about, and blaming and labeling, their opposition. Most especially, let them know they need to resist rule-breaking regardless of who is doing it.
Join with other problem-solvers in your community and work at something together. You might be amazed at what Americans can do when they put their heads together.