The political histrionics are in full swing as another Presidential election saturates our attention. Obama's strategy remains the same - blame most of the problems on previous administrations and "structural" issues and spread more federal largess to key business leaders and voting constituencies (He is from Chicago, after all). Republicans are spending too much time reacting to each other and too little attention to vision and practical solutions. We have the omnipresent phenomenon of everyone shouting over each other instead of engaging is honest debate and dialogue. We have Rep. Maxine Waters calling thoughtful Republican leaders, "demons" and telling Californians to not let then in the state. So much for a new bipartisan, post-racial, synergistic future! The Right talks family values but needs to offer solid ways forward for economic stability for the families it wants to serve.
"Election polemics and politics-as-usual", you say. Yes, we have a colorful history of parties spewing venom dating back to 1800. But this is not an excuse for incivility and insufficient effort to hear one another. Instead of commenting on "those politicians," I want to address our personal responsibility as we prepare to cast our ballots.
I challenge all of us to sit down with our colleagues, families and neighbors that may have different views and listen to each other as we discuss issues we all have in common, from economics to education, from safe schools to safe borders. Let's take an hour and agree to listen to each other, with a view to offering a way forward instead of just attacking our opponesnts. On immigration, for example, how do we uphold the law and show hospitality? How do we have military preparedness and national security while streamlining the budget? How do we stimulate business and protect the environment? The issues can be local or global and we will not always find middle ground. But beginning the conversation with the aim of finding solutions is much better than shouting down opposition sound bites.
I am not calling for a lack of passion, just kindness, humility and practicality rooted in sound principles. Passion and principle united create powerful changes for the good. Maybe if we listen deeply, we will be better informed, understand our neighbor and find new answers that are veiled behind the hot air!