When I was a child, I often found myself at family gatherings on my mother’s side, or on my father’s. I listened to discussions of the affairs of the day, often beyond my understanding, but I did notice that everyone had a say. Each person’s thoughts were considered, even if contrarian.
Somehow this manner of discussion and listening has been expunged from modern society, especially in our nation’s capital. What passes for listening today is equivalent to a prosecuting attorney listening to a witness for the defense. She wants to win, the defense attorney to lose. That’s how our adversarial legal system works.
Unfortunately, with this type of approach, egged on by partisan and mendacious media, our political system chokes. Neither side can score a win. It’s all about what’s wrong with the other party. Democracy be damned.
What’s needed is a constant search for compromise, listening for clues that might lead to a genuine improvement if incorporated in a solution, one that both sides can take credit for. On many, if not most, issues this is the only path forward—the opposition can not be shouldered aside.
So why isn’t this happening? Don’t the politicians see this themselves?
Of course, they do. And many would love to work this way. Trouble is, their motivation system pulls them in the opposite direction. If you don’t know what this system is and how it works, you haven’t been paying attention. At least, understand that there is one and that it’s taking us away from what we want. No organization can achieve its objectives if the motivations in place pull its members in the opposite direction.
Also understand, that when you vote in November for a member of either major party for a national office, you can’t avoid reinforcing this system.
“When you been doing the same thing for fifty years and it ain’t working, it’s time for a change.” Barack Obama.