We’ve seen a number of winning and losing platforms over the years. Some of them have been uplifting, others despicable, and some just plain comical. When looking at the current political landscape I see a few commonalities that would give either side a much better shot at winning. Personally, I would love for both parties to throw up candidates that exhibit the following:
How soon we forget that the job of representing people is actually a job. I know, crazy isn’t it? Mind you, I don’t expect perfection from anyone. Mistakes will be made and blunders will happen. Yet, a competent person goes to work on the solution. They don’t call hearings at my work when someone does something wrong. They simply ask them to fix it. If they can’t fix it then someone else will help them or they will find someone else to do that job.
Leonard Pitts addressed this last Sunday when he compared the Bush administration’s response to Katrina and the release of the ACA website. Mind you, both situations involve multiple players that all dropped the ball, so pointing the finger at only the president in both incidents is unfair, but then again that is why they get the big bucks.
This kind of falls under number one. The number one job of government officials is to make sure that government is working for the people. It is one thing to fight a piece of legislation tooth and nail, but it is another to obstruct it after the fact.
Some of our elected officials seem to be reveling in their inability (or lack of desire) to work with the other side. It’s one thing to have non-negotiables, but when everything is off the table then there might as well not be a table. Taking a picture of seven or eight white guys sitting at a table doesn’t constitute cooperation.
Democracy has never been about getting everything you want. The goal of an elected official should be the same as a doctor. Leave the patient better than you found him. You may not be able to cure the disease, but you can at least ease our pain and suffering along the way. Ideological purity is a lovely thought, but it’s not a particularly practical one.
At the end of the day, I want to know that you will do a good job. I want to know you will do your best to help as many people as you possibly can. I want to know you will use the powers and mechanisms of government to make our lives a little better. That means actually speaking civilly with people from the other side. It means an honest give and take. It means we may have to actually increase taxes on some things and make cuts on some other things to make the whole thing work. A candidate that understands all of these things will likely win their election.