As I was writing my last post I found myself reflecting on the recent election and where we go from here. Certainly it feels like it’s finally over, but in actuality we are at the very beginning, waiting to see if our trust was correctly placed. So, to the current Congress and the newly elected, here are my thoughts, presented from my slightly skewed point of view.
I am not a politically oriented person. I do not know a lot about economics. Don’t know much about history, don’t know much biology but I do know one and one is two. Wait a minute, isn’t that a song?
Anyway, back to one and one is two. Simple arithmetic, but it seems some people in Washington need a refresher. You know who you are. You’ve just finished months of plaguing us with phone calls and negative TV ads, which focused on everything that was wrong with the other guy and very little in regards to what was right about you. If I were interviewing for a job, and all I could talk about is how bad my future work associates are, without telling you much about me, it would guarantee a quick dismissal. How can you possibly think this is helpful? Here’s a hint. Save your money. All those ads do is turn us off to the whole political process. Vote for Big Bird? You betcha – he knows that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
One doesn’t have to be a genius to recognize we have challenges ahead. This is where the one and one is two comes in to play. The President alone can’t do it. One congressman or senator alone can’t do it, one half of Congress alone can’t do it. But if a Democrat and a Republican, The House of Representatives and the Senate, the people and the states, form partnerships working toward a common goal they can do it. Starting with 2, then 4, then 16, then I need a calculator, but you get the idea.
The election is over and now it is time to get down to business. A country filled with anxious people now look to you to DO SOMETHING. We are all about to slide down that slippery slope, or jump off that fiscal cliff, if the lot of you can’t get the job done. We have voted for you, put our trust in you, and now a worried nation waits and watches to see what you will do. Will the promises be kept, or were they empty rhetoric? Are we justified in putting our future in your hands? There is no time left for politics as usual. As that wise Jedi, Yoda, once said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”
Now, a couple of suggestions as this process begins. If I got a new job and started it by refusing to work with anyone who did not share my personal philosophy 100%, I’d be on the employment line before you could say bipartisan. Most of us learned way back in kindergarten to play nice with the other kids. Respect one another. Treat others the way you would wish to be treated. Cooperate. Compromise Those should be your vocabulary words this week. Make them your mantra. Look them up. Use them in a sentence. Today I will be the first to demonstrate cooperation by suggesting a compromise. It doesn’t have to be a big one, just a tiny step in the right direction. Remember, we are all on the same side here.
But first of all, I would like each of you to take a simple pledge. As doctors take the Hippocratic Oath, an oath in which they swear to do no harm so should this Congress begin with a similar oath. A pledge to do no harm, to the country, to the economy, to the people. How? By working together for the future of our nation, pledging not to hurl insults, but welcome insights, not to refuse to work with anybody who presents a different point of view but to keep an open mind. Somewhere along the line the ability to listen to each other has been lost. To cover your ears and close your mind to other voices is not acceptable in the halls of Congress. All voices must be heard, ideas exchanged, policies refined. Yes, there will be differences of opinion, there will be frustration in the give and take. It will not be easy. But it is your job. Remember, you are new hires, on the clock, and we are expecting results.
Where, along the way, did we lose sight of the fact that we are collectively more than our ideologies, that we are first and foremost Americans? We believed it in the 1960s, when President Kennedy challenged us to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Today, people may think that was a waste of time and money, but let me tell you that as a child at the time, even I could sense a pride in our country sadly lacking today. We did grasp it again, briefly, during the most horrendous days our nation has faced. It should not take a disaster like 9/11 to bring us together.
The President has issued an invitation to jump-start this process. I know that I and the rest of the nation will be looking at who among you emerge as the catalysts, the leaders who captain the teams, rather than the ones who walk around the playground kicking rocks all day. We’ll be looking for a leader in 2016. And we ‘ll be watching for him now.
All this brings to my mind the movie, Dave. One part in particular speaks to us today. Desperate to save funding for homeless shelters in the budget, Dave (who is a presidential look-alike posing as the president) calls in his accountant friend, Murray. Over pastrami sandwiches Murray looks at the budget, and rolling up their sleeves, the two come up with enough cuts to save the homeless shelters. Now, it would sure be nice if life could work out like a Hollywood movie, but we’ve got to start somewhere. I have to believe if Murray had a look at that budget, he’d find something to work with. Could be the beginning of something big.
I want to know that the men and women I’ve voted for are not just working for reelection but are dedicated to working for us, to making our country economically secure, our infrastructure strong and our military standing ready to protect and defend us. I want to feel pride in my country again.
The time has come to do or do not. I have found that when Americans pull together, when they do, they can accomplish anything.There is much that separates us today, but there is more that binds us together.That is where our strength lies. That should be our starting point.
If you choose to do not, get out-of-the-way and make the pastrami sandwiches, because we’ll have to call in Murray.
PS: After this budgetary emergency is over take some time to watch Dave. There is a lot you could learn.