Been watching events unfold on several fronts that all seem to be converging onto a single theme. They’re all political in some form but range in scope from local to national events. Please allow me to lay these out one by one, then link them all together.
First, let’s begin in New Orleans. The big political story has become Mayor Mitch Landrieu and his push to remove 4 historic monuments linked to people and events from the Civil War and the Reconstruction era. This battle has gone from heated debate and a partisan vote of the City Council to a legal battle bouncing from jurisdiction to jurisdiction attempting to block removal of these figures that have been a part of the city for over a century.
While this has dominated the local news, the city is in the grips of a crime wave that continues to creep into more of the tourist and established areas of the city where these activities were less common. The French Quarter has seen vicious attacks on tourists that has left victims maimed, or criminal activity that have made even the most jaded local reconsider areas that were safe just a year or two ago.
New Orleans faces so many other difficult issues that need people working together to create workable solutions. Instead, the focus of time and resources are wasted on a fight that was taken on to earn political clout instead of solve the many crisis issues that need leadership and resolution.
On the state level, newly elected Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has proposed some unpopular solutions to correct the three quarters of a billion dollar deficit in the state budget that ends in June, and the near two billion dollar hole in the 2016 fiscal year budget. Instead of working together to fix the problem, to find a solution everyone can live with, the two political parties take cheap shots at each other trying to gain some perceived advantage while the state finances continue to deteriorate.
Nationally, the GOP candidates continue to expound on their conservative, Christian values but resort to name calling and dirty tricks in a vain attempt to sway voters, but instead show they are truly focused on winning an election instead of practicing the values they preach.
In our instant society, the people we elect to represent us in every form of government have become obsessed with maintaining their image instead of doing the people’s work. Instead of putting politics aside for a majority of their term in office to work with others to find common ground, solutions that can work for all, and compromise to make things happen, these public servants play partisan games, try to shift blame to “those guys”, and then look confused when the voters complain of gridlock and lack of action.
The good news is that the voters seem to have gotten to their limit of the bull that has become partisan politics today. The cry for the status quo seems to be louder now than it has been in many election cycles. The scary side effect of this movement is that it seems the many are willing to back candidates just because they aren’t a “career politician” instead of finding the best qualified candidate. There are people that are both a political novice and a candidate with a professional background of proven true leadership. We need those candidates in office, and we need to avoid turning elections into popularity contests.
Running for office, run a clean campaign. Talk about how you are the best candidate to fix the problems and explain why that is the case. Don’t cut down your opponents, and don’t play the talking head’s game of turning things into a bad version of a Yo mama slam contest.
If you hold office and want to keep it, first, stop listening to your party’s talking points. Grab others that you know will work with you and develop a plan to fix what’s wrong. Talk things out, adjust the plan until everyone can live with it (no party wins, the people do.), then implement that plan.
I know this all seems simple. That’s because it is. It is also what should be happening at every level. The reason certain politicians are legends are because they got things done, not because they dug in and refused to compromise.