Forward Thinking?

Politics in general is supposed to be complicated and slow. It has so many facets and complexities that it would be unrealistic to expect any candidate or pundit to be able to express his or her complete view, or your complete view, in a single sentence. That being said, I was impressed to see Rick Santorum do the inverse. Two days ago, in a simple two sentence statement, he expressed the total opposite view to my own.

“We don’t win by moving to the middle. We win by getting people in the middle to move to us and move this country forward.”

Well done Sir. More polarization and less cooperation is the obvious answer.

And sadder still is that he clearly doesn’t know the definition of “forward.” If only God hadn’t created him so stupid.

for•ward [fawr-werd] adverb Also, forwards. 1. toward or at a place, point, or time In advance; ONWARD; AHEAD: to move forward; from this day forward; to look forward.

I realize that the exact direction of forward can be somewhat subjective, but unfortunately for Rick, backwards is never forwards.

If we’re going to call them leaders, we need politicians to do just the opposite of his ridiculous statement. We need them to seek out compromise and to look for reasons to cooperate. We need them to alienate the extremists at either side of an issue and focus on the larger rational population of people that are still capable of measuring their response to a political disagreement with some level of reason and the understanding that they just might not know everything. Every politician claims that their dedication is to the greater good of the country (or state, or district, etc.), but so many of them somehow manage to ignore the damage to our country that is caused by the vitriolic nature of the discussion.

Congress’s approval rating hovers just over 10%. How can they possibly be representing the citizenry if almost 90% of the country holds a negative view of their work? Could it be because the grid-lock of personalities has made them unable to get any work done? Maybe, but what it definitely does is feed into the long held desire for a third party. I would love a third party, but I don’t want another party that thinks they have all of the answers and will be equally unwilling to compromise (Cough, cough, libertarians). I see absolutely no need for another group of uncompromising personalities pulling away from the middle. No one has all of the answers. Everybody has ideas. I want a third party to be born from the middle. I want a centrist third party that is formed by representatives that are capable of listening to all of the ideas with an open mind, find any parts that make sense in each of them, and find a way to bring the best parts of every angle into the mix to write legislation that benefits all people. I know that sounds fantastical and it‘s incredibly unlikely, but how many great things have ever started with a small idea? I don’t know the answer to that question.

As a country we seem to have fallen so in love with the fight that we don’t care at all about the damage that we’re causing ourselves. There is room for compromise on every single issue ever brought to the floor, but that compromise is impossible as long as the debate is allowed to be polluted with lies and conjecture and continually dictated by people like Wondernuts Santorum who have absolutely no desire to find a middle. The “my way or no way” attitude is incredibly stunting to any forward progress, no matter which direction you think is forward. And it’s all a moot point as long as so many people continue to pretend that every issue is a life or death decision and should therefore be fought with religious level tenacity. Our political differences are not differences between “good” and “evil” as so many people like to pretend. Political opponents are not automatically your enemy and deserving of destruction. Neither political party is holier than the other, and to my knowledge no deity has ever showed up to endorse a political candidate. Allowing every single issue to be presented in this “good vs. evil” fashion only radicalizes the arguments, putting further gap between the two sides that could likely agree if they could only take off their “D” and “R” team jerseys and talk to each other and the public like reasonable human beings.

But what do I know? I went to public school.

2 responses to “Forward Thinking?

  1. Fascinating. We really did come to similar conclusions. Personally I’d side with George Washington; I don’t believe political parties have any place in our society. He warned that their creation would result in exactly what we have today, but they didn’t start out bad. They started as (relatively) good men organizing together. But they devolved into what we have today.

    I don’t think you can make political parties work. The lure of power being what it is, they are almost inevitably going to result in engines of counter-productiveness.

    Anyway, great blog post.

  2. Ignore my comment about Echo Chamber, you clearly listen to other opinions. I’ve often wanted a Third Party but truthfully it scares me at the same time. A strong Third Party means at some point you have something resembling government by committee. Now granted…that’s usually the case anyway, but clear majorities make it easier to govern. If it was slow before…imagine how much slower it would be if neither party could ever get a bill through.

    King George, as I like to refer to my favorite President when things didn’t go his way, (my opinion based on my own conclusions of books I’ve read) likely would not have cared about the Two Party system had it not blown up in his own cabinet with the Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson. He knew enough that people were going to disagree and parties were the inevitable outcome. I don’t think we are truthfully as divided today as we were in the first 100 years of our country. I think CNN and FOX and everybody else are dividing us along lines that truly don’t exist as clearly as they are making it (coupled with a breakdown in civility towards one another).

    We need the same thing we’ve always needed…a great leader. I just don’t think we’ve seen one since Reagan…and not because he was Republican…he brought people together. Simply put…people liked him on both sides of the aisle. Good read.

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