Want good government? Then don’t make excuses for bad government.
Want responsive government? Always question party-line votes. Political parties that put their survival and success first are major dragons among us.
Want others to be good, civil citizens? Then be one yourself, and find the courage to call out your fellow believers when they cross the line — and you know it happens across the political spectrum. No excuses.
Yes, there is always a lunatic fringe. Every group has them. The difference between a mob and a group is that groups have leaders that speak up. Does your group have leaders or just people pointing the way?
Great kudos goes to the The Hampton Roads (Virginia) Tea Party which has taken a very public stand for good citizenship: “The Hampton Roads Tea Party does not condone nor will it tolerate racism, sexism, or religious intolerance or bigotry in any form within the ranks of its membership or at any of its sanctioned events. Such beliefs, attitudes, and activities are contrary to the basic rights of all humankind as outlined in the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence.”
— Hampton Roads Tea Party Board
We can argue about whether government is too large or not large enough. We could debate about how interest groups influence government in the wrong way — mostly your groups, not mine. But why?
I believe that the best course of action is to be agnostic about government. If the processes are in place to create a responsible and accountable government then the issues will work themselves out at the polling booth.
Where folks go a bit off the edge is when government patronizes them. Pandering may be an art form but it is not an acceptable process.
In discussing this, let us remember that sometimes we get the government that we deserve. If we work hard to make sure that our side wins and the other side loses — whether through procedure, issue manipulation, smoke and mirrors, whatever — then we will always have unresponsive government.
Let’s Slay Dragons Together
Bill4DogCatcher.com has a new project: I would like to see a coalition of the willing, those willing to focus on what brings us together, not pushes us apart.
I’m calling my new project — please don’t laugh or throw rotten stuff — the Coffee Party & Tea Party Coalition – a Bill4DogCatcher.com Project. Am exploring what can bring us together at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/group.php?gid=102925266411916 (does anyone know how to point someone to a Facebook group with a better looking URL?).
The dragons that I want to slay are process-focused.
At the end of the day our anger and frustration comes not so much from knowing that the other side doesn’t appreciate our position on issues — of course, it’s not like you or I pay much attention to the what the other side is actually saying so why pretend?! — our anger and frustration comes from believing that the system is fixed! The outcome is almost preordained so why make the effort to be civil and logical? But we must try … we really, really must.
The Dragons That We Must Slay
Areas that I would like to see Coffee and Tea work together on — because the self-perpetuating political parties won’t:
- A Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment
- A Term Limits Constitutional Amendment
- A Taxation Transparency Act – up front accounting of categories of spending and who is getting what from whom.
- Political Campaign Funding Transparency — Any contribution over $50-100 should have publicly available names attached.
- Political Action Committee (PAC) Contribution Transparency — Do not make me wait and scramble to read various political candidate reports and match the numbers up. PAC contributions need to be publicly available records within 30 days of giving money to a candidate. We should be able to see that ABC Persuaders, Inc. gave $X to A, B and to Z.
- Keep ‘em Honest Promise Trackers – regardless of what party or part of the spectrum politicians live, are they keeping their ‘promises’? We have lots of ways to determine how liberal or conservative or libertarian or whatever someone is … but we have no common way of tracking how honest to their stated intentions they are.
There are many ways we can have more responsive government, but we must be willing to lay aside our issue differences to get to where we all want to be. Let’s avoid discussing issues. Let’s focus on creating processes that keeps government honest and moving forward.
So how would you slay dragons? Send your thoughts to Bill@Bill4DogCatcher.com or please visit the Coffee Party & Tea Party Coalition – a Bill4DogCatcher.com Project at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/group.php?gid=102925266411916
This blog article originally appeared on 2010.03.23 as ‘Listerine Won’t Keep Dragons From Ruining Your Day. Time To Take On The Dragons!’ … Cute name but it violated a reality of journalism: what is your topic about. So … if you think you’ve read this article already then it ain’t deja vu at work.
Bill Golden is an independent observer of economics, politics and human resource management issues. Politically conservative but considers himself to be both Coffee & Tea. Solutions come from dealing with reality, not emotional responses.