I don’t know about you, but I was more than a little horrified this past summer by the conduct of both political parties in the debate regarding the federal budget and the national debt. Frankly, it was not only embarrassing, it bordered on irresponsible and unethical behavior by all involved!
Instead of a philosophical debate on how to best address the monetary needs of good government, the debate broke down into narcissistic posturing on both sides. Instead of rational argumentation, the confrontation became frantically theological. One side yelled: “This I believe.” The other side replied: “This I believe.” They just kept chanting their “acts of faith” at each other, but neither side was open to serious conversation or compromise. “We need more government input and expenditure,” cried one side. “We need less government and more of the market place,” the other replied!
As far as I’m concerned, each party’s faith based political ideology blinded them to the real needs and the real issues facing the people that they serve. To me, this summer was all about a crisis in leadership. Both parties got lost in their own rhetoric and lost sight of their real job: a functioning government “by and for the people.”
Let me quickly site two very different contemporary politicians on the subject of governance and compromise. Arnold Schwarzenegger, former governor of California, once said: “Voters want a system where representatives put what’s best ahead of extreme partisan politics.” And Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, said: “We must stop prioritizing incumbency and partisan interest over democratic representation”.
I think that the fundamental message of these two statements is clear and at the very heart of a working democracy: Without ethical compromise, we risk civil and civic default and failure!