We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
I get the impression that current wisdom suggests that we can resolve the dysfunction of our current political system by getting the correct candidates elected in 2018 and 2020. The other side won more elections in recent years. Things will change things if our side starts winning more. Of course, that’s the problem! For me, this is simply attempting to “solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
Our political system has devolved into a crazed ideological battle for the soul of the nation. The Republican party is being held captive by a right-wing Tea Party mentality and over-funded by the deep pockets of corporate interests. The Democrats, on the other hand, can’t seem to organize around any political platform except the desire to be re-elected. They, too, are beholden to funding interests.
Our national political leaders of both parties act like preschoolers who haven’t yet figured out how to play together. Contrary to the popular aphorism, the one who dies with the most toys is not the winner.
While members of the legislative and executive branches of our government perpetually bickering over funding to keep the government running, the American public is trying to balance family budgets in the face of the spiraling costs of medical treatment and wondering if there will ever be sufficient funds for retirement. Add to this, a constant fear of when and where the next mass shooting will happen? Will a classmate of my daughter bring a gun to school and begin shooting? Will my son be safe from attack at an outdoor concert? Will we be safe while worshiping at our mosque? Or our synagogue? Or our church?
Who in Washington is concerned about the Middle Class or lower income families? Ask yourself this: How many Middle Class or Lower Class Senators or members of Congress are there? How many of our elected representatives receive financial support from lobbyists in excess of your annual income? Who do they really represent?
It is time to change the nature of political conversation in this country. I wonder what would happen if we were to commission a couple of prominent politicians who still are accorded some level of respect—say Joe Biden and Mitch Romney (or you choose a couple of others)—to begin a national dialogue. Surround them with a team of scribes and provide adequate funding; then send them on the road for the next couple of years to host formal and informal gatherings of this nation’s people to listen to their concerns. They could meet with coal miners in Kentucky, urban Millennials, ranchers in the Dakotas, residents of Silicon Valley, employees in the Rust Belt, church-goers in the Bible Belt, town hall meetings in New England, backyard bar-be-ques in Texas, Inuit villagers in Alaska, Muslims in Detroit, Blacks in Ferguson, MO, undocumented farm workers in California, and . . . .
Am I naïve in thinking that the results of beginning a national conversation might produce a different political agenda than that currently envisioned by the two stagnant political parties that have tied Washington in a Gordian Knot? Of course I am naïve; but I know that we are not going to resolve our current dilemma by doing more of the same.