Enough is enough! We've gone through three and a half years of unprecedented partisanship and political obstructionism. During that time the mechanism of governance has ground to a virtual halt. There have been vanilla bills passed and signed into law. There even has been an occasional big ticket item passed and then argued about incessantly and fought, frequently all the way up to the Supreme Court.
Note that I have not indicated a political party or an individual from a political party as the culprit. Most of us would tip the scales heavily to one side or the other, but that isn't the purpose of this article. I am going to start with the hypothesis that there is enough blame to go around to both sides of the political spectrum. I am also going to propose that, in many ways, it is we, the voters of this nation, who have caused this governmental paralysis.
America is in many respects a unique country among democracies throughout the globe. Most countries have electoral systems that field candidates from multiple parties and governing bodies are generally determined by coalitions among those multiple groups in the legislative body or bodies. That is an important point. It allows voters to identify with politicians who fully share their political leanings. A conservative can vote for someone in a conservative party, a moderate can vote for a moderate, a liberal for a liberal, etc.. Governing majorities are almost always coalitions with parties sharing power. It also allows failed governments to easily be recalled or realigned.
America was founded on a different base. We have been, since our inception, and continue to be, primarily a two party system. There are occasional third party movements, but they generally fall short and are temporary phenomenon. Inherently, we believe in the two party system. This belief, however, requires compromises among the parties. There cannot be a party that represents only the fringe 20% on the right just as there cannot be a party that represents only the fringe 20% on the left. That leaves no room for compromise and disenfranchises the middle 60% of the voting public.
It also leads to a state of perpetual political war in our governance. Neither side is willing to meet near the middle. Whether middle/right or middle/left would depend on the winner of the presidency, since that is where agendas are set. What we have to insist, however, is for government to start working. We need less partisanship and more cooperation. We need solutions, not entrenchment.
There are issues that we must move forward on. As a people we should be insisting on breaking the current gridlock on issues such as:
- revising the tax code
- infrastructure repair and building
- environmental protection
- social security and medicare reform
- defense budgeting
- job incentive programs
- voter registration
- immigration reform
- educational standards
- energy policy
- climate change
This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. We are a big tent nation. We have different opinions on every one of these issues and the people who represent us have differing views on each issue. Our elected officials have to stop spouting their party lines and start representing the entire population that they are representing. We don't need party hacks who listen only to their handlers. We need people of Jeffersonian status who indicated that he was elected to use HIS best judgment and the input of his constituents.
We have to make certain that the most conservative member of congress understands that their districts generally have 45% of their district who have views that are to the left of them and liberal members of congress have to understand that their districts also have significant numbers of conservatives. It is why our political system is a two party system. Our founding fathers were wise enough to understand that a representative was the voice of the people. Multiple views mean moderated positions from our leaders. I'll finish with the same statement that I started with. I want to be governed. I want these obstructionists to stop playing with the American people. Enough is enough!