It’s time to elect – or re-elect – a president. It’s also time for a change. And I’m not just talking about the president.
Regardless of who the people of this country elect as president, it will signify — by a very small majority – the will of the country. Let’s face it, if Mr. Romney wins (or President Obama), nearly 50% of the voting public will think he’s the wrong person. In the past, the politicians would lick their wounds and then would try to find a way to move their agenda. No longer. Now both parties end up moving further and further to the edges — and find ways to hinder the other guys.
Last night I was talking to a set of very good friends, and their frustration with governance and the feeling that the system is broken resonated loudly. These are folks who are not politically involved, don’t run their own businesses, but are middle class individuals who have been part of corporate America for most of their careers. All are college educated and from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and different parts of the country. In my opinion, these are the type of folks who, to put it in statistical terms, makeup a big chunk of one standard deviation of our populous (68.2%). And these individuals, who are the backbone of our country, are starting to become more and more frustrated and dis-engaged in the political process. Given the polarization we are seeing, this trend of individuals giving up on the process is dangerous and does not portend well for the future of our country.
It’s time that we agree that we are always going to have poor and that we cannot remake the world to make everything “fair.” And we have to understand that social nets are part of today’s society/government and we are not going to eliminate them. We need to agree that our federal government cannot be run like a business, but it needs more statesman rather than politically motivated hacks. We need to agree that a balanced budget amendment is not in our country’s best interest, and that we cannot continue to accept the deficit we are presently running. We need to agree that if we are willing to accept some form of social support from our government (disaster protection, commodity subsidies, social security, etc.), EVERYONE must pay taxes. Yes, that means the working poor, retired individuals, and the wealthy. And we all need to agree that much of the media has become more about entertainment than substance.
More importantly we have to accept that moving our country forward is not about winning and losing —it’s about understanding that we are an extremely diverse country — rich, poor, black, white, women, men, immigrants, and a geographically diverse tapestry of culture which makes us who we are. We are still the country that people want to emulate, and I think we can all agree it’s time we find a new way to re-engage and move our country forward. Regardless of who might be our next president.