How Can We Work Together?
This article is an attempt to reach out to political adversaries and look for common grounds. Since we are all adults and have intellect and have specific ideas, there must be some areas where we overlap. We may disagree on a host of issues but I am optimistic that we can reach some consensus for the greater good.
The alternative in an evenly divided nation is stagnation. Nothing of substance is accomplished. Since there is no clear majority, nothing is passed. Problems just sit and wait and continue to grow. The two party system might have worked in the past but no more. A prime example is the immigration issue. Under both Republican Administration of Bush and Democratic Administration of Obama, nothing was done.
The healthcare reform is another example. Instead of working together, we had a partisan bill that was jammed down the American people's throat and after 8 years, was still not working quite right. The current Trump administration ended up taking pieces of it apart after a failed attempt to repeal it. This is not how a major piece of legislation should be written and enacted.
Finally, even our judicial branch seems like it is broken down. We now have a divided Supreme Court where many decisions are made with only a 5/4 split decision. This is not how it should operate. The court's only duty is to decide if a case is within the Constitution or not. Assume a non biased jury, and assume they have full understanding of the Constitution, assume the justices are basing their ruling strictly on the law, most cases should be decided by a big margin, like 9-0 or 8-1 or 7-2, not 5-4. The 5-4 decision should only come about rarely.
- March 2020
Suprene Court 5-4 Decisions
What Is The Solution?
I have been contemplating this for quite a while. I think the problem is our current two party system. Because there are only two parties, some of us who disagree on some issues are forced to choose one party to be affiliated with. This is a natural outcome that we ended up with two opposing sides.
A better solution is to have more parties. For example, what if we create a 3rd party. This new party of Moderates or Independents. The GOP can be renamed Conservative, and the Democratic party renamed Progressive. Under this scenario, Some people can move to the party that they most identify with.
This will take some time to develop. It takes local organizations and boots on the ground and grass roots to form. Once we have this three party system, elections will be more dynamic. People can choose one among three possible candidates. Coalitions may be formed between the parties depending on the issues at hand. At any given point in time, we may end up with a 2/3 majority instead of a 50/50 vote.
Because there are three groups, there may be more room to horse trade and seek alliances and reach a majority. In the process, compromises are made and bills will pass more readily, in theory at least.
The tone of debates will change. Instead of a constant battle between two opposing sides, the elected officials would need to be more persuasive in trying to win a majority. Since no party has an overwhelming majority, the members are forced to play nice instead of just dictate their agenda. The ACA would not have passed muster in that environment.
In this upcoming election cycle, it is shaping up to be a choice between President Trump vs. VP Joe Biden. Wouldn't it be nice to have a third alternative like Howard Schultz on the Independent Party ticket?
Conventional wisdom was that Schultz would split the Democratic vote and insure the re-election of Trump. That as why he was discouraged from running and quit early in the primary process. I am not sure of that assumption. There are many on the Republican side dissatisfied with Trump. If a reasonable alternative was presented, they would switch to vote for Schultz, also a successful businessman without the baggage of Trump.
What I described was a party reorganization at the local and National level. Individuals like you and me can play a different role. Given the current divide, and the media bias, we can learn to dialog and debate the issues without the personal insults and false assumptions and hidden motives.
We can start by recognizing the bias in the current media and just tune them out. They are a news filter and a very bad one for the most part. They are not objective and have an agenda. This is not good for our democracy. With the internet and global access, we don't need to media to interpret the news. We can go directly to the sources in most cases. For example, instead of watching CNN interpret what a candidate said in a debate, or a speech rally, we can tune in and watch the debate and the rally and decide for ourselves.
Overtime, the dishonest media will die out from lack of readership. That is how a free market system works. Just like a corporation or a company, if they are delivering a poor product, the consumer will not buy it and they will go out of business. It is the same with news.
The second thing we can do is just talk among our selves. It is conventional wisdom that we never talk politics or religion in social gatherings. That is a mistake in my opinion. The only way we can sway public opinion is with honest dialog. We all have been conditioned to some belief system. Rightly or wrongly, we hold these beliefs. Without dialog and debate, how can we ever hope to change? By remaining silent, the divide just grows. We need to close that gap. We can do so by seeking common grounds. There are many things that we agree on. We may just have different approaches to getting there.
One example is public education. We all recognize there is a problem with public education especially in our inner cities. We as a society wants good education for all our kids. Yet, we disagree drastically on how to do it. The left wants to increase the fund to the public schools and empower them to do better. The right wants to offer alternatives to the public schools like Charter schools and vouchers. These are very different approaches to trying to solve the same problem.
This essay is just my opinion on some of the possible solutions to our current political climate. As we have experienced ever since Bush/Gore, our country is evenly divided. Elections are settled with just a small percentage of votes. This is not a good thing. We need to have better communications among us to settle our differences. As with the recent coronavirus crisis, we can work together. Regardless of party affiliation, we all want what is best for our country, right? If the answer to that is no, then we have a bigger problem.
I welcome comments, suggestions and debate.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Jack Lee