The polls are open today in our town. On the ballot are the offices of mayor, vice-mayor, council members and a referendum. That, together with my utter disgust with what’s been happening in DC over the last several years and particularly the past few months, has me wondering if there is a way out of what most Americans are fed up with – an increasingly uncivil political environment where the premium seems to be on who can shout the loudest, stand the firmest, blame the most, and listen the least. And, at all costs, not doing anything that would risk re-election, even if that means what’s best for the whole of us falls victim and continues to be put off.
No point in giving examples. All forms of media have flooded us with that. What we have seen much less of, however, are truly constructive approaches toward long term solutions to what our country finds itself desperately dealing with. And, I don’t have them, either. At least, not in some glib, PAC pleasing, mindless sound bite. Maybe no one has those answers at this point. Well, if that’s true, how are we going to get there? By continuing the poisonous, destructive, exhausting, polarized activity of late? No reasonable person could believe that we can stay on this same course and be satisfied with the results.
So, what approach is called for? I’ll take a stab at what comes to my simple mind:
• The end of “non-negotiables”. There is only one rightfully non-negotiable issue in our country’s history that I know of – slavery. Everything else should be wrestled with together and workable solutions found. No more signing pledges with any single issue group that boxes the elected representative in a self-constructed corner.
• The revaluing of compromise. How did the extremists on both sides take over the conversation? Apparently, the politicians believe we want that and will vote for that, but I know almost no one that thinks that way.
• A conservative approach to managing the country’s resources. There is simply no reasonable, convincing argument to spend beyond our means. Families can’t do it and be healthy. Businesses can’t do it and stay in business. Balance the doggone budget!
• A sensitive, fair approach to human issues. All Americans deserve to get help if they’re doing all they can to help themselves.
• Everyone pays their fair share of the bills. No one earning above poverty level income should escape paying his fair share for the privilege of living here. Get rid of tax breaks and subsidies that clever people can use, even as they prosper, to avoid paying taxes.
That’s pretty much it. That, and a return to decency. Good, old-fashioned, common-good decency toward each other.
Candidates, try not to fall into that trap of believing you’re unelectable if you don’t give in to one extreme group or another. Campaign money is not the only way you can get elected. Let your constituency know (and with modern media, there are so many ways you can do that ) that you basically subscribe to the above approach or one similar in nature, and I think you’ll find a hungry public ready to respond. You do that, and you’ll be fine. Now, THAT’S what – and whom – I would vote for.