I was recently involved in a discussion with some very delightful ladies and the question that fueled that discussion was why can’t the Democrats and the Republicans just get together and compromise to get things done. What is the reason party politics take precedence over the good of the country? Those are fair questions and while I don’t have all the answers I believe I can shine some light on the subject.
I think all would agree that we are in the middle of what appears to be a serious partisan divide. It may well be a divide of historic and unprecedented proportions. So what to do? What is the role of the everyday citizen? How can I mend this rift?
First of all, Democrats think the way they do because that’s the way Democrats think. Republicans think the way they do because that’s the way Republicans think. If our gridlock were caused just by a difference of opinion based on our political view, that could be overcome. Our gridlock is caused by something more sinister. It would seem that party loyalty has become far more important to our elected representatives than the good of the country. I have come to believe that when a new Congressperson travels to Washington, they are greeted and told the rules. They are told what they have to do to get along as well as get re-elected. To get the plum assignments and the good committees, new people have to toe the line. If they do not, they will disappear from sight and will never be heard from again. Even if they ever had a thought of getting anything done for their district, the only way that could happen is with the support of the party as a whole. So, don’t make waves. Go along to get along. It’s just politics, you see.
Does that sound skeptical to you? Well it is and I am.
One answer does occur to me. Term limits. Let’s get rid of career politicians. Don’t think for a moment that these elected representatives will vote themselves out of office, however. That is not going to happen. What we must do is impose those limits at the polling place. The idea of seniority is repugnant to me. Why should any elected representative have any more power or authority than any other elected official? They all should be on equal footing. I am confident that the Founding Fathers never would have envisioned a Congress like we have now.
I read recently that many candidates are spending tens of millions of dollars of their own money to get these jobs. Why? What’s that all about? With the money they are spending they could buy their own country and proclaim themselves emperor or king or anything else that suits their fancy. What is it about the job that would cause such spending? All I know is that most of the representatives in Washington are millionaires; if not when they get there, certainly when they leave. Alas, more skepticism. Will Rogers once said that we have the finest Congress money can buy, and he said that over a half century ago. Not much has changed, has it? Only the amounts.
In the final analysis it is up to all of us. If you are okay with the direction the country is headed in, kindly disregard my comments. If, however, you see things differently, then you must be heard from. We have serious problems that need serious solutions. We have an economy that continues to sputter. We have nearly double digit unemployment and a border that is more like a sieve than a barrier. These problems are not going to fix themselves. They are going to be fixed by serious representatives who are willing to do the hard work and compromise. They must cross the aisle and be willing to sacrifice what might be best for their party in favor of what is best for the country. Like you, I’ll be watching.
Constitution Day, September 17, 2010
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