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|N O T H I N G !|
If you want to be wiser than all those pundits who parrot each other in viewing "partisanship" as the bane of U.S. politics these days, then explore this site. You will see why deploring violent confrontation is one thing, but that should not prevent patriotic Americans like you and me from understanding that for our country to really prosper, whether we be Independents, Democrats or Republicans, we must agree to make a few tweaks to our political system, which will culminate in all of us joining in an enlightened call, NOT for LESS, but for . . .
|"Non-partisanship" is un-American|
Why is just about everyone who talks about "partisanship" these days buying into the idea that there's something wrong with it? It's the American way, for God's sake! It's just another word for "competition"! Do these people think that the center part of stadiums should be reserved for all those "independents" who are too classy to be "partisan" and to cheer for one team over the other? What color medals are awarded for athletes who excel in avoiding aggression? Where's the hue and cry about all the businesses in the world competing like hell to be "number one"? What about Toyota vs. General Motors or BMW? As bad as PCs and Windows are now, imagine how much worse they would be if IBM and Microsoft had not had Apple to compete with for the past 30 years! Both Apple and Windows have benefitted from their competing, rather than cooperating.
Nobody in America complains about competition when it comes to sports, or business, or education, or anything else, because we all know that competition is the way products and services are constantly improved as time goes on. The "survival of the fittest" is the one thing about Darwin's theory of evolution that we Americans all agree on, and none more so than the conservative Republicans of our species.
So why all the penalty flags when it comes to politics? Who started all this crazy-talk about partisanship being some kind of crime or disease, and non-partisanship being the holy grail of a new "post-partisan" era? Talk about the worst kind of "political correctness"!
Competition in politics, so long as it is fair and above-board, is good for American politics, for the same reason that it's good in so many other areas of our lives. We need more of it, not less.
What do people expect to accomplish by dreaming of a day when rival parties will stop opposing each other? We are never going to see such a day any more than we are going to see the day when lions are going to lie down and cuddle with lambs. The way to get our government working right isn't to promote the unrealistic goal of "consensus" and/or non-partisanship, but to recognize that the real solution is in pretty much the opposite approach.
Have you ever been in a situation where you had to loosen a very tight nut, and weren't sure which direction it needed to be turned. The current approach of American voters is to try one direction for a while, and if that doesn't work by the time of the next election cycle, try the opposite direction, and back and forth ad nauseam, (interspersed with periods of "consensus" when there is no motion in either direction, as both sides agree to rest, while nothing is accomplished. Isn't the solution to figure out which direction the nut is threaded and then to put all your efforts in that one direction, until success is achieved?
The current problem with American politics isn't that there are contestants on the political field of battle who are contending, but rather that these earth-shaking contests have such hopelessly inadequate political referees and score-keepers! How many people would be willing to spend good money to fill stadiums to watch contests in which there were no limits on the number of teams, the number of players on each team, how, when and where they had to compete, what was allowed and what wasn't, and what constituted victory? Just as it would be pointless to watch a baseball game, if there were no umpires to call balls and strikes, or any other sport, if there were no mutually agreed upon rules, or no one to enforce those rules, the political game needs umpires who know the game and the rules, and have the power and the will to enforce those rules.
We Americans are right to be unhappy with our politics, but we wrong to blame the problem on "partisanship". It's not the players who want to suit up and compete on the political field who are at fault, not are the people who are in the stands to see a good fight and cheer their favored side on to victory at fault. The problem is that our politics currently have no effective referees and score-keepers.
How are citizens supposed to know who's doing well and who's doing poorly, if there
are no trusted referees calling out the players for their errors or mis-deeds
or score-keepers reporting on which team and/or players have made things better
in this country and for whom, and which have made matters worse? Without this
essential information, how can voters know in which direction to turn the political wrench?
They can't. And so, instead of elections being opportunities for the voters to
move the country forward on the basis of actual facts, all they end up doing is zigzaging
between the two major parties, on the basis of all kinds of factors other
than the facts, like which contestants have raised the most money to put on
the best shows and/or filled the air-waves with the most persuasive lies.
U.S. voters have every reason to be frustrated and confused. But, instead of "going rogue" and blindly taking out their frustration on the "incumbents", wouldn't it be more productive to figure out what the political "game" is all about and to demand that the political umpires and score-keepers help them determine which team they want to put in power and which they want to send back to the minors for retraining?
This webpage was created before the advent of Donald Trump, who has succeeded in casting doubt in the minds of too many American about whom they should believe and whom they should distrust. Until this idiotic tornado blows over and these people wise up to the fact that it is Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin whose trustworthiness they need to question, not that of the main-stream media, the whole of the U.S. Intelligence community, the U.S. Judiciary, the U.S. Congress, the medical community, the scientific community, most of acedemic community, many in the religious community, and even the pope, all bets are off !
Although sports and business thrive on competition, they can only do so because the competition takes place
within a context of regulation and civility. Without that context, competition would degenerate into rioting and chaos. What people are really looking for when they idealize "non-partisanship" is really the equivalent of "sportsmanship" in sports, i.e. the kind of fair play which enables the most deserving players to be recognized and rewarded as "victors" and those who "play dirty" and try to score points by skirting the rules to be declared "losers".
If there is a problem with "extremism" and/or "polarization" in American politics these days, trying to solve the problem by eliminating "partisanship" makes as much sense as trying to remedy high blood pressure by blood-letting. The whole function of political parties is to represent opposing interests, even diametrically opposed interests. But why should rivals stay within bounds and obey all of the rules, if they know they can win by cutting all kinds of corners, and break all kinds of rules, without being called out by anybody but the opposing team - which they can then describe as being guilty of being at the opposite "extreme"? - The right way to get rid of the . "extremism" and/or "polarization" in American politics is to demand that the media stop acting as though every game ends up in a tie, and start being really fair by reporting on how well and/or badly each team plays.
In order for competition to be productive in the game of U.S. politics, the various players all need to be required by the referees to play by the same agreed-upon rules. But there's the rub, isn't it? Who knows the rules? How can people agree to rules, when they don't even know what they are?
In politics, one team at a time gets to rule, but only for a given term. Once the electorate has made its choice, and a winner has been chosen to carry out their program for a particular term, far from being expected to compromise with the losers, winners should be expected to spend their term in office implementing their winning proposals. The public should get the policies that they were promised and for which they cast their ballots, not some mishmash of policies cobbled together as a result of wheeling and dealing between the winners, the losers, and/or political appeasers of one sort of another.
During this period, opponents can continue to be critical of those in office, but no one should tolerate any effort on their part to actually sabotage the endeavors of office-holders, i.e the public's servants for that term.
The principal activity of parties when they are out of power should probably be the development of the alternative policies they plan to offer the public when it comes time, toward the end of each term. That's the time for them to make their case to the public that they are the ones who ought to be put in charge next time around. The object of the game at this point isn't to come up with ways to "make nice" with the other parties. What the public needs the opposing parties to do is to come up with policies that are better than – not compatible with – those of the past.
Once an election campaign is on, the various interested candidates or parties need to compete for the hearts and minds (and money) of the voters, by campaigning unapologetically and furiously in favor of their own brand and in opposition to their rivals' brands, in the hope of persuading the public to choose their brand over their rivals'.
Near the end of each "term of office" - when the election stage of the next cycle takes place - there needs to be a way for the consumers (voters) to evaluate how well their last choice has worked out and whether they want to stick with that choice for the future or go in a different direction. Without the help of the information media at this point, it's easy for the most deceitful brand, rather than the most worthy brand to win the day. For voters to evaluate in subsequent elections which contestants are most likely to benefit and which harm the body politic, it is crucial for the voters to have access to the kind of information that only news media can get for them. Those media aren't helping when they think that all their job requires of them is that they repeat a fairly even number of the claims and counter-claims made by the rival parties or candidates, or report an equal number of misdeeds on both sides, without revealing to the public the total picture of how much more misbehavior there may be on one side than on the other.
1) Where politics is concerned, we Americans are going to continue getting lousy public services until we stop discouraging "partisanship" and start promoting the good old American way of competition. Whom do you know that you can contact to join such a campaign? How can you help stop the media and/or politicians from bad-mouthing partisanship? Just because Republicans don't have a political brand that they can be proud of, let's not allow them to bad-mouth "all politicians", or to promote the idea that "they all do it" ( i.e. all parties are corrupt). Buying into the political rallying cry "throw all the bums out" is just as nonsensical as hating all blacks, Latinos, and/or women just because you may have once been cursed by some Spanish-speaking black woman. What we need is a way of telling the difference between these politicians who deserve our outstretched hand and those who deserve our boot. I am one Liberal Democrat who believes that we have far and away the best policies to offer to the great majority of American voters, and the best public servants to enact and impliment them. If conservatives and/or Republicans think they have something better to offer, let them "bring it on". But then, let's make sure the American voters have the resources to do their job, so that every time there is an election America gets the opportunity to get better, and better products and/or services!
2) The right way to achieve "bi-partisanship":
While I have pointed out the problems with making "bi-partisanship" an artificial goal, I have no problem with both major parties agreeing once in a while. After many leading Republicans objected to a bill designed to help the 9/11 responders, on December 22, 2010, they voted unanimously to pass that bill. This moment of bi-partisanship wasn't the result of the parties both worshipping at the same altar. It was the result of Democrats being on the side of the public and many people working hard to get the public arroused to the point that Republican office-holders didn't dare risk the public's ire. It isn't always possilbe to get such dramatic results, but this vote illustrates the right way to end up with consensus, not by starting with it, but by earning it in the long run by offering the public policies that are so appealing that the public puts so much pressure on representatives of both parties that they agree to support and enact those policies.
According to the "post-partisan" view, it's wrong for voters to base their ballot decisions on the basis of their party affiliation. They should only "vote for the individual", i.e. on the basis of the personal qualifications and positions of individual candidates. But, if you think this through, it doesn't make sense.
It may be a simple matter for government officials to put any number of names on a ballot. But just because voters are given a choice of dozens of candidates' names doesn't mean that voters are thereby magically given the time and ability to check out all of those individual candidates' records and qualifications. It doesn't make any sense to expect voters to study the records and qualifications and character of any but one or two candidates in any one election. The only thing that any rational person should expect the vast majority of voters to do is to study the records and the qualifications of two or three major political parties, (and to usually decide on the basis of shared party affiliation which candidates to support). That is something they can reasonably be expected to do, because it's something they can start doing even in childhood, with their parents assistance, something they can develop and improve on over their whole life times, something they can develop in conjunction with their friends, associates and associations, something they can do with the help of the communications media day in and day out. When circumstances call for it, voters can certainly make voting decisions on the basis of individual records and qualifications, but that can only be the rare exception, not the rule.
Thanks, however, to the prevalent aversion to party affiliation, the Democratic Party has given young voters fewer and fewer reasons to be proud of being Democrats and more and more reasons to be - not necessarily Republicans, but - "undecideds" or "independents". Since the Republican Party doesn't have much hope of winning the hearts and minds of the public, that political party has extremely partisan reasons for promoting the idea of "non-partisanship". That party has little hope of winning the gold, because it has proven itself incapable of preventing the public from seeing its corruption and/or incompetence. So the G.O.P. has been doing the next best thing, namely preventing the Democratic Party from winning the gold, by promoting the nostrums "they all do it", "all politicians are corrupt", "what we need are term limits" or "throw all the bums out". But just because Republicans don't have much to be proud of in their party doesn't mean that Democrats should allow themselves to be lulled into accepting the colossal falsehood that "party doesn't matter". If voters belong to a party they know to be really great, then working for the success of that party is nothing to be ashamed of.
It is always understandable when dishonest partisans promote a distortion of the facts when falsehood serves their interests better than the truth, but any media personalities who mindlessly parrot such falsehoods, should be disqualified from serving as political referees.
The most important example of such is the idea that any party which has the presidency and more than 50% of the membership of both houses of Congress "controls" the U.S. government and can therefore rightfully be blamed for whatever happens or doesn't happen in Washington under their "control".
The plain truth is that without a supermajority of 60% of the U.S. Senate, the presidency AND a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court, no party can be accurately said to control our government.
Although we have made a point of comparing U.S. politics to sports, it has only been to highlight the fact that we should expect fierce competition in both. However, when people talk of "the blame game", they are usually trivializing something in politics which should be deadly serious. When some of us are adult enough to ask authorities to investigate the possibility that individuals and/or political parties or administrations have been guilty of needlessly causing the deaths of thousands of innocent human beings and/or needlessly squandering millions (or even billions) of dollars of public treasury, what is gained by allowing the suspects to squirm off of the hook by making silly accusations that those raising the questions are engaged in "playing the blame game"? Isn't it those who are taking these matters so lightly who are playing a game here? If they can get away with playing this "get out of jail" card, then why shouldn't everybody in prison be allowed to play that game as well? Here's a thought. Instead of trying to avoid blame by referring to blame as a "game", why don't parties and politicians put more effort into avoiding being blamed by avoiding blameworthy behavior?
This page represents just one of many unique and exclusive insights that we are making available, free of charge, at our Great-Liberal-Insights.org site to help make the Democratic Party both more liberal and more successful in its battle for the hearts and minds of the good people of America. Here is a sampling of the unique insights you'll find there:
There is much more where this came from, at