When the Wise Men Go
When the state is beyond redemption and helplessly corrupt, the Stoics believed, the wise man will stay away.
~Lives of the Stoics, Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman
Have you ever wondered what in the world happened in our election process?
I think about that from time to time. We have so many supposed adults in Washington who are acting like impetuous little children. People who seem to be more concerned with getting publicity for themselves than getting things done for the betterment of society. I don’t care what your political affiliation is, you have to admit, there are some completely incompetent people who have gotten elected. And it only seems like it’s going to get worse. Why is that?
I think some of it is the fact that good people simply don’t want to have to put up with what’s happening right now. They don’t have to do it, and so they aren’t even going to bother with it. Some of it is our electoral system in the first place. Primaries tend to make the extremes between the parties even more extreme. Moderates don’t tend to get the votes, even though it’s the moderates on both sides are the ones who are more likely to work together.
So many people are focused on getting their way (or toeing the party line) that they aren’t even willing to consider compromise. And yet, they’ll use the lack of movement (which they are causing) as a way to score political points by saying that the other side can’t get anything done. It’s insane.
So, how do we change it? I wish I had the answers, but the truth is, it’s going to be a long process. It has to start by voting out the ones who are causing a lot of the problems to begin with — those who are more concerned with camera time than doing the right thing. This really needs to begin at the primary level.
Each party needs to put forth the best candidate, not just the one who is more extreme on their end of the spectrum. That’s not to say there aren’t qualified candidates on the far left or the far right, though. This isn’t an ideological thing; it’s an “are you willing to work with people who disagree with you” thing. We don’t need more people blasting out thoughtless talking points just to get in front of a camera. We need more people who are willing to compromise and find a better path for all involved.
If we don’t do that, if we don’t flush out the ones who are causing the stink in the first place, then we will continue down this path.
A couple months ago, I was contacted by one of the political parties who was looking for good people willing to run for office. I ignored the first text, but a couple weeks later, I got another one. I told them that due to the nature of my job that I wouldn’t get involved in party politics, but that I would be more than willing to vote for good people on the ballot. And I think that’s what we all need to do.