Republicans. Democrats. Left. Right. Conservative. Liberal. Red. Blue.
This year, the political ad campaigns in my state were a beauty contest between two dogs. I voted, but my vote wasn’t one of affirmation as much as it was picking the one that smelled a little less offensive than the other.
Instead of looking to one party or another to solve the challenges before us, what if all of the local, state, and federal politicians came up with a statement of shared beliefs? What would happen in our nation if the leaders said:
- I am proud to be an American. Any citizen who is proud to say the same thing, welcome to our Democracy. Your opinions matter. All others, go home, keep your money, and remain silent. It’s not that you don’t matter, but you matter a lot less than what free American’s think and believe.
- I want a better future for my children than I have for myself. Our founding fathers signed a declaration to King George III. The act of signing meant this to the signers: we will live free or die. Instead of thinking selfishly about what they stood to gain or lose (most of the signers were very wealthy men), they put their lives on the line in hopes of building a free future for their children. It’s one thing to make decisions about improving things for future generations; it’s another matter entirely to practice a “live now, pay later” philosophy.
- I will not put myself above the law. Politicians have lived an exempt life in many regards. Instead of being fired or imprisoned, politicians get censured, a formal decree that says, “We don’t like what you did.” Is it wrong that we hold politicians to higher standards than the Average Joe? I don’t think it is. Politicians are paid with our money, pass bills that touch our lives, have privileges reserved for royalty, celebrity, and the wealthy. It’s not asking too much to expect that these individuals have the highest ethical and moral character.
- I will receive pay based on what the nation’s unemployed can afford to pay me. Let me give you hint: 100% of 0 is 0. Don’t spend one minute deliberating about parking space in the nation’s capitol or voting for your own salary increase. Fix the economy. Some would say, “Wouldn’t that drive everyone out of politics except for millionaires?” To which I would respond: “Who would you rather take a stock market tip from: a multimillionaire who has been successful in business? Or the person who bags your groceries?” God loves them both, and so should we. But when our nation has money problems, it might be a good idea to listen to those who know how to make money and create jobs.
- I will offer 3 viable solutions to every idea I shoot down. Before most children go to school, they hear from mom, dad, or Big Bird, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it”, or they hear its close cousin “When you point a finger at someone else, you have 4 pointing back at you.” Are we looking for 2 years of gridlock? I hope not. It’s time that politicians stop playing Roman Emperors by raising their thumbs up or down to the ideas of others and instead come up with their own solutions.
- If I fail to deliver _____ in the next two years, I will resign and never again run for public office. I’ve been on many committees charged with developing goals. It takes some work, but when the team works together, it’s not hard to find common objectives that everyone feels they can help deliver. What is the ______? Restart the economy? Grow jobs? Restore consumer confidence? Balance the budget? Define ______, and then deliver upon it. If elected officials can’t agree on ______, they need to get out of the sandbox and let someone else get in.
I’m oversimplifying things. But maybe it’s time to get simple. If nothing else, if our leaders practiced this, they wouldn’t have time to throw rocks at each other.