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The New Rules?

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Think Outside the Box
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An observation worth noting " and pondering, from political authors and congressional scholars Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Orenstein in an interview with Lucy McKeon of Salon:

[W]e're facing the most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression, and yet our political system is set up in a way in which it's very hard for an opposition party to be open to participating in any solutions to that because that would legitimize the party in power, which would keep them from getting there. And so they are engaged now in an ever more permanent campaign to obstruct, defeat, discredit, repeal anything that is done by -- usually defined as -- the president's party....

But I think just as importantly, it's [the Republican Party] become a party that believes it's essential to stick to your principles and not engage in any kind of collaboration with -- negotiating or compromise with -- the enemy, which is defined as the other party. That's unusual. And then you put that together with simply no respect for facts, for evidence, for science, and add to that the willingness to simply reject the legitimacy of the other side....

The peaceful transfer of power, the respect for the office of the presidency, the willingness to say, 'We have our differences, it's important to discuss those but in the end we're all Americans,' and so on, that's rejected by a whole lot of Republicans right now.

Surely those in support of these (ongoing, sadly) political tactics by a determined wing of the Republican Party will take great offense to those comments. Hardly a shining assessment of red, white, and blue Americans, is it? But where's the evidence suggesting this not-so-current observation was inaccurate then or is still now?

Is this another standard which society in general should now adopt in everyday dealings? What's best for all--requiring compromise and cooperation--is no longer an objective? Won't that be helpful!

Integrity can now take a permanent holiday? That ought to make personal relationships "interesting,", along with business dealings, athletic competitions, and a long list of other daily interactions where honorable give and take to achieve some mutually beneficial gain has long been the standard! (Talk about your fun reality TV!)

I'm disheartened by this now-standard political M.O., and not just because this shortsighted and narrow-minded approach to "leadership" and governing will create so many more problems for us all in the years to come. What's just as troubling is the great silence from what I still believe are millions of honorable conservative citizens who find nothing especially troubling about the win-today-at-all costs-consequences-be-damned methodology.

Are they just not paying attention to the details, gratified instead that all the red-meat buzzwords are being used constantly?

Have we become that selfish? Do we no longer possess the wisdom of generations before us who understood that governing and policy to benefit the most among us for the longest periods of time requires something much less than adherence to rigid, unthinking ideology? And now we can add dark money from anonymous donors and a Supreme Court majority which has apparently disconnected itself from reason to the mix. What fun!

If our nation is to continue to uphold the ideals and principles which have sustained us and been the hallmarks of our astonishing history, then someone needs to inform leaders that narrow-minded is not the way to go.

Fear and paranoia may have a place (where, I'm not sure), but when those are the motivations driving elected officials to develop policy, we have bigger problems. It's not enough to hope that politicians will figure things out--not if this is the strategy implemented almost daily by one group.

Citizens need to start paying at least a little bit of attention not just to objectionable tactics. The bigger challenge and the greater responsibility is to understand that short-term political victories to perpetuate a policy of obstruction and an ongoing rejection of election mandates by the majority have long-lasting consequences ... assuming the future matters.

Adapted from a blog post of mine

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Looking Left and Right: Inspiring Different Ideas, Envisioning Better Tomorrows I remain a firm believer in late U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone's observation that "We all do better when we all do better." That objective might be worth pursuing (more...)

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