Here are three quick observations about politics in America.
- We are obviously so polarized that we are paralyzed.
- Holding onto power is more important representing the people.
- There is a monumental lack of leadership and courage to lead the way to serious negotiation and resolution.
Our two major political parties have too much power and control over our elected representatives. I believe the two-party system has failed us because it leads to animosity rather than negotiation. However, there is one great idea that each party has which was summed up brilliantly by Jim Wallis.
He said the central idea of Democrats is social responsibility and the central idea of Republicans is personal responsibility. At first blush, they may seem like oil and water, but, contrary to popular opinion the do mix very nicely.
How can we possibility be socially responsible if we are not first responsible for ourselves, for assuming self-responsibility lessens the burden on the rest of society.
How can we possibly be personally responsible without being socially responsible, for one our primary personal responsibilities is the welfare of our neighbor?
These are great ideas when taken together, but they turn ugly when isolated from each other. Personal responsibility morphs into greed with no thought of the less fortunate. Social responsibility turns into self-righteousness, resulting in ineffective programs that throw money at problems, rather than partnering with individuals.
So, the greatest need in American politics is leadership, courage, and the ability to negotiate bringing the two great ideas together, rather than this foolish demonization and polarization that has become institutionalized.