We Demand Great Political Parties

Someday, maybe just one.

Common Threads 4 Common Good

Each party has lost control of the narrative. You are defined by the language of opposition and no one sounds very good when that is the case. What follows are examples of how to take back important narratives and regain the trust and confidence of those who you are sworn to serve.

The divides are partly your doing. Notice is being served. We are on to you. You are in perpetual campaign mode. You pick sides and toe the party line. Your anxiety over losing overwhelms the tough work of being well informed and the character of voting your conscience. You have an obligation to demonstrate the commitment to hard work required for actual unity. We are confident you will. We still have faith in your interest to serve. But, we are waiting. We are watching. Step forward, please.

We demand really great political parties that represent us well and do hard work. We no longer accept moving forward with a level of fear and anxiety that makes either outcome seem catastrophic. To encourage more and better participation in the process, we will demand shorter campaign cycles. Certainly, that is something we can all agree on.

Democrats have been characterized as tax and spend liberals. Fiscally irresponsible and bad for business. You are portrayed as weak on defense. Your position on social issues lacks conviction. You are alarmist on the environment. You show more allegiance to special interests than to the people. With all of this, why would anyone vote for you? Here’s your chance. Reset the table.

Economy — The fear is that you will drive the bus off the cliff on the left hand side. Own the left flank of fiscal policy. Share cautionary tales of fiscal policy too far left with dire consequences. This concerns you and informs your policies. Acknowledge the existence of bloated bureaucracies. Site specific examples. You don’t like to wait in lines anymore than anyone else.

Demonstrate familiarity with the concern for the “long arm of the law”. Convince us you won’t go there and why. You believe in free, capital markets. Investment banking is not intrinsically bad. Practice is more important than form. Your commitment is to manage the economy so that it provides opportunity for all.

There are only so many levers anyone can pull. Fortunately, you know what they are, when to pull them and how hard. You will be the party who takes less credit when things are going well and more blame when they go badly. The massive economic engine of our country keeps plugging away despite political gridlock certainly not because of it. You get this. Imagine the good will you will gain with this kind of honesty and forthcoming.

On behalf of the entire country, you will keep a watchful eye out for unfair practices. You know where the right side of the cliff is too. You will never even so much as rub rubber with it. You lost the confidence of working Americans and this troubles you. You will earn it back and you will do it honestly.

Science — You are also the party of science. Massive scientific consensus is a blessing. It is also public interest. Your goal is to strengthen the bond between science and well informed policy. Share examples in history when the U.S. had the vision to make investments in research and education that turned out to be awesome decisions. You understand that positions that run in stark contrast with strong scientific consensus need to be regarded with suspicion. You are the party with that suspicion and the conviction to overwhelm it. Things move fast. We don’t have time to be on the wrong side of history.

Defense — You are not weak on defense. You are long on diplomacy. Diplomacy will go on whether the United States participates or not. Super skilled participation in diplomacy is part of your contract with America. You will engage and be very effective. This only enhances military strategy and strengthens military defense. Don’t worry. You are not naïve. A seat at the table must be earned.

Social Issues & Diversity — You cherish diversity and the rich tapestry of American society it creates. You honor faith in all its forms. A strong moral compass is inherent to all humans and can be enhanced and strengthened by all faiths in all corners of the globe. You believe in equal protection under the law for all citizens. You welcome and encourage these same values to everyone on earth. You are also the party that abides by separation of church and state. You respect the privacy and freedom of individuals and trust them to act in accordance with their own moral compass. After all, you are not eager to expand the role of government. Even less inclined to extend that arm into the bedroom.

The Republican Party — you are characterized as protecting the interests of the wealthy at the expense of everyone else. You favor large corporations over small business. You are reckless and untrustworthy with defense, security and civil liberties. Your positions on social issues are out of step with the times and contrary to your position of a limited government. You are anti science. How did you let that happen? You have become the party of hate. White supremacy views found a welcome mat at your door. You let them in.

Diversity — the issue of hate must take priority. Bigotry, sexism and xenophobia are non-negotiable. Acts of hatred are repugnant and you denounce them with strong emotional disdain. Anyone who feels at ease with the views of white supremacy needs help and needs to find a different political party. If you believe women should be treated as objects or are in any way less than men, you may already know where the door is. Go to it, get counseling and come back.

We are a nation of immigrants and you cherish the diversity they add to our cultural fabric. The perception that the party built to oppose slavery has done an about face is deeply disturbing. You denounce all such sentiments and will work hard to regain trust in this important area of leadership.

Economy — you are here to keep a hawkish eye on the fiscal landscape. An economy that works well, works well for all of us. Your party creates opportunity through mechanisms such as competitive tax rates and contraction of the role of government in the economy. Your commitment to the free market is so strong you busted trusts. You do not forget that heritage. You are suspicious of over regulation but not so obstinate that you can’t acknowledge effective and necessary regulation. You do not want government to run everything much less run your life. You hate lines just like the rest of us.

Social Issues — you are a party with deep regard for religion and freedom. The freedom to practice religion is open to all faiths as designed by our constitution. There is a growing sentiment that suggests the Muslim faith is more inclined to acts of terror than other religions. You reject that argument. Religious extremism is often a sign of total loss of faith and the moral compass it provides. It has more in common with no religion. If you are uncomfortable with Muslims, we suggest you have one to dinner to overcome your anxiety. When consensus over sensitive social issues that challenge your faith, you will prevail upon the aspect of your faith that discourages judgement.

Science — the discipline required for stewardship level responsibilities of governance requires mathematic and scientific qualifications. Macro economics is science. You are not anti-science. Majority scientific consensus influences and guides your positions on policy on many fronts. Denying the findings of the scientific community regarding climate change is suspicious at best, reckless and self-interested at worst. You reject this type of dangerous thinking as a party. This will be a difficult battle in your ranks, but it is one you must wage. You are the party with the conviction to vote your hearts and your minds — issue by issue. You share the concern that we may already be on the wrong side of history on this issue.

If the outlines of the 2 parties seem somewhat similar, good. Common sense and compassion have boundaries — on each side. Radical insights are sometimes needed, but don’t tend to be the strength of the political class. It’s okay to leave that to researchers and philosophers.

All Parties, but particularly you 2 — There is much work to be done regarding special interest groups. The issue is non-partisan. It is another opportunity to collaborate. Separate the herd. Rank lobbyists by scale of financial backing and perceived level of influence. Each side can get their branding irons hot for this exercise.

Their intentions need to be openly revealed. For some this will be easier than others, but the party that demonstrates the most courage to be forthcoming will stand out in public opinion. The special interest influence can then be compared to public consensus. Leadership and valuable insights need to be added to the discussion. For example, having a comprehensive, smart energy plan is neither inconsistent with management of the economy nor stewardship of the earth. Little hint here, managing both in pragmatic, fair, scientific ways is public consensus. You can back off levers as you push others in. There are historical precedents for this.

We have a democracy that is highly regarded all over the world. We have good reason to be proud of the liberties it is designed to protect. We can also take pride in the fundamental constructs in place to protect against authoritarian rule. We all have a voice.

We value our humanity over our politics. We have an obligation to source the fundamental decency of our humanity to achieve unity. We can rally around commonality of goals when our humanity is more securely in the lead. This includes developing better self awareness regarding opposition thinking. Opposing points of view do not have to invoke fear and loathing. We can build greater awareness of fear based thinking and champion over it. We can do this because we are fundamentally better than the status quo so, we will.

Common Threads 4 Common Good. Let’s all lead.

Rhody