Generally, I try to stay away from political blogging because it seems too many are too ideologically polarized these days for anything to really sway anyone from the path they are already on. Yet I cannot hold my tongue (or keyboard fingers) any longer. The political pissing contest has no chance of ending, even with a new president in my opinion, because of who we have elected into office and what we seem to expect of them in order for them to have even the slightest chance of reelection.
However, this is not about whatever political persuasion you or your ideal candidates are. Instead, its about politics as usual… or rather “lawyering” as usual. The stalemates in both Houses of Congress and, more recently in the so-called debt reduction “super committee”, are a direct result of the types of politicians we elect. Primarily, they are lawyers.
Think, for a moment, what lawyers are supposed to do, especially in a court room. Their job is to take a position and argue that position right to the death. Well, at least to the end of the trial. When is the last time you saw a trial lawyer switch positions midway through a trial? I am sure it does happen, albeit very rarely. These elected officials are elected, too, on their ability to run with a position, right or wrong, and figure out some way to keep that message alive. But make sure you really do put away your own scotomas, here; Both political sides really are stuck with their own set of ideals. Just as trial lawyers present their cases, our elected Representatives and Senators do much the same thing. It is what we hired them to do.
Unfortunately, Congress is not a trial where, after the two sides have presented all of their arguments, a judge leaves the final decision up to a jury. What Congress is is a bunch of trial lawyers presenting the positions they were hired to voice without a jury that makes a real decision. If we ran a murder trial like that, the prosecutor would forever be saying the defendant is guilty, the defense attorney would forever try to convince the prosecutor that his client is innocent, and I think it would be rare that a real conclusion to a case would ever come about. Connecting the dots, it seems really obvious that Congress is not a place for trial lawyer tactics, being the best debater, or showing up on the floor with a bunch of preconceived and unchangeable notions. We should not demand members of Congress be pre-positioned trial attorneys, impartial judges, and unbiased jury members at the same time and still expect the system to work.
So, my call to our current and future Presidents, State Representatives, Senators, and even local political figures is to put aside the polarized debate strategy, the political biases, and the trial lawyer mentality and take the time to look at our Country’s issues with an open-minded, serious approach to truly solving them.
At the same time, my call to voters is to examine your candidates carefully and look for those with the ability to carefully analyze and act upon real, prudent information… not provide you with unwaivering commitment to ideals that just might not have roots set firmly in the ground of fact. And you must be willing to take a look at your own ideals and try to determine if they have basis in fact or are based just on what some acquaintance has been telling you. Casting a vote in an election is a chance for YOUR voice to be heard, not your neighbor’s, your friend’s, or your family’s. After all, the political animals we have sent to Washington are really of our own creation. We have the ability, through our future choices, to tame them or let them continue to morph into an even more imposing monster.