I think a lot, often too much. I like to learn. I am intrigued by and interested in the thoughts and opinions of others. I truly believe there is much we can learn from one another. I am also a woman of conflicting opinions. I have an open mind but I’m also incredibly stubborn, often to my own detriment.
If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything
In today’s political arena, where you get tossed to the pundits as opposed to lions, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything” is tossed around like a jingoistic battle cry. Politicians are often accused of being flip-floppers when opponents want to make them look weak-willed. But, what if after careful consideration or thoughtful debate they decided their first opinion was wrong? I don’t understand why the ability to change one’s mind is looked upon as a bad thing. It seems like politics has become a game of gotcha. Shouldn’t we applaud leaders who are able to admit when they are wrong?
I read somewhere that President George W. Bush once said that if only Laura (his wife) and Barney (his dog) were his only remaining supporters he was still staying in Iraq. This would be impressive were it not keeping the country in a war fought for all the wrong reasons.
But see, here’s the thing, I can see the merit in thinking and listening and giving careful consideration to the opinions and advice of others. It takes a strong and wise person to acknowledge that there are others with valid opinions and better ideas on how to solve a problem. I can also see the merit in sticking to your guns and holding your ground. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut and commit to what you believe and know to be true. The devil may be in the details but the grace is in having the wisdom to know when there are others with better solutions and knowing when you just have to have the courage of your convictions.
Wisdom and grace were two qualities definitely missing from the recent debt ceiling/budget deficit negotiations. The Republicans refused to allow any new revenues into the agreement because they’d signed some pledge that stated they would not raise taxes. They chose to dig their heels in and refused to budge on the issue. President Obama and the Democrats wanted to raise taxes on the wealthiest one or two percent of Americans and close tax loopholes that allow giant corporations to avoid paying taxes.
Partisan politics ruled the talks and so no real give and take ever occurred. Political rhetoric and I suppose generous doses of pride and ego drowned out any intelligent thoughtful discussion. There was no opportunity to learn from one another, no chance for any ideas to get through. You have to wonder what could have been accomplished if from the beginning they just would have sat down and said, “Okay, it’s a given we must raise the debt ceiling. Let’s get that done so it’s not hanging over these discussions or the American people.” You have to wonder what it would have been like if after voting to raise the debt ceiling they sat down in a serious manner with open minds and the best interests of the country at heart and got to work balancing the budget in a fair and equitable manner? What if there had been no pride, no ego, and no stupid pledge at that table? Could they have worked together to accomplish a common goal?
The next revolution will be televised
I have an idea. It may sound outlandish but hear me out. I’m not an economist but it doesn’t seem like rocket science to me. We need: money to pay our bills, money to run the country, money to put into savings. We also need smart honest people to make good decisions how to accomplish this rationally. So here is my idea. Without regard to party or branch of Congress appoint seven earnest, intelligent people to the STRAIGHTEN OUT THE DAMN BUDGET COMMITTEE. Make this their one and only duty. I know it won’t be easy or quick but give them one year, a staff, and weekly meetings with the President. And here’s the thing, make it the newest, coolest, most-watched reality show on TV. That’s right, I said it — televise it. The word transparency gets bandied about D.C. and the nightly pundit programming like a beach ball at a summer concert but it’s just that, a word. Nothing ever comes of promises of transparency. Had John Boehner and Eric Cantor known the world was watching perhaps they’d have worked a little harder to be fair to everyone not just the corporations who keep them well fed and elected. And perhaps had the Democrats known the world was watching they’d have found their damn backbones and done their damn jobs. I guarantee you there’d be less pissing contests and more thoughtful discourse if the folks in D.C. knew you could hear their every word.
And finally, I propose an important and interactive element to this new reality show — a biweekly multimedia public (not press) conference. Every other Saturday at 6pm EST the American public (no White House press corps, Congressmen or Senators allowed) can call, e-mail, Tweet or Facebook their questions in and for 1 hour ask questions such as: Where are you in the process? What are you working on now? And, how will these adjustments affect me directly? Thus allowing the American people and not the press to shape the public discourse.
So what do you think? Would you watch a reality show entirely about balancing the budget and how it gets done? What do you think CSPAN, want to buy my idea?