In every election cycle, the same list of polarizing lifestyle and religion topics are raised, and since we are so set in these ways that we cannot compromise them, we elect lawmakers that similarly will never stray from platform. I think it is time to ask, is this the reason why US Congress doesn’t function well? If so, our government is dysfunctional by our own choosing, and I’m not certain that there is any reasonable solution.
Credit to the in-laws’ neighbor who suggested that pre-election contracts such as the TEA Party’s “don’t raise taxes ever” should be illegal, with his point of the moment being that we don’t give our lawmakers the freedom to reach a compromise in an emergency.
Think about the typical hot-button topics, and consider which one is most important to you:
- Abortion/reproductive rights
- Gun rights/control
- Marriage rights
Now ask yourself why your position on that topic is more important to you than preventing multiple generations of poverty.
I think Lawrence Lessig was on the right track when he decided that copyright and patents cannot be reformed until we “strike at the root” of the problem, the lobbyists who pay to keep those things as they are, but I think there is a greater root at the heart of it all, which can change everything if we want, and that root is us. The US government is habitually deadlocked because those bullet points are so important to voting America that the same uncompromising mules continue to take no action and solve nothing. Where are all the centrists?
Fiscal cliff (and the loss of some pets) aside, it’s been a great 2012 for me. I hope everyone has a great 2013.
Lawrence Lessig’s Rootstrikers movement: http://www.rootstrikers.org/