Most of us are in the middle on almost every issue. Most of these issues have been debated for decades. There is no shortage of smart people with realistic, sensible ideas and solutions. And yet we seem to have made virtually zero progress. Why?
Because our government is not designed to get things done. It is designed to be fair and to limit the power from being concentrated in one person or even a small number of people, because that was the primary goal of the founding fathers. You know, checks and balances. In that regard, it has been quite successful. But that’s not enough; we need more. We need to make it more effective.
That’s why if you see some issue that really lights you up because it seems like such a travesty that things have to be this way…. well, we have to focus on solving our government problems first. Or none of those other problems will ever get fixed.
Anyone that knows me at all knows that this is all new frontier for me. I was a science guy in college, and I specifically avoided taking classes with subjective grades. Like government. Especially government. Because even then, it seemed so illogical. We would learn about shady political tactics and swaying the public opinion and methods to win elections or get laws passed, and here we are studying them and everyone is fully aware of this bullshit, but no one wants to change the system so that we do things better. In fact, the dogma is: this is how it has to be, this is the best we can do. And now that I am all up in arms about it all, I am trying to take a more measured, careful, scientific approach. So I go and read and look over studies and listen to people who are and have been deeply involved in all of this for years and years. I am trying to understand the reasons it has to be this way. And I am learning many things.
Such as the fact that I don’t have any new ideas. (Except these ridiculous concepts that we need to set qualifications for government officials and change the election process so it’s not a free-for-all. I seem to be the only one on the planet harboring that particular form of insanity). Every time I think I have come up with something new, it seems there are many much smarter people that have already written books (and often several) on the subject. Barnes and Noble is absolutely full of best-selling works of visionaries. Which also means people are actually getting those messages (unlike this blog, which currently has readers numbered in the teens, most of them family. Hi family!)
So the ideas are out there, and people know about them. And these issues, when we look at them closely, we see that the majority of people are in favor of making real changes for the better. Year after year, administration after administration, left then right, right then left, we seem trapped in an oscillating stalemate.
And I hope to continue to beg the question: Why? By definition, the problem has to rest in the lap of the government. That is the purpose of the government. So if things are not working, then it is the government that is broken.
Here is another unoriginal idea: subtle changes in approach can result in tremendous differences in results.
As an example, let’s look at one of my influences: Ghengis Khan.
Here is a guy that took a bunch of squabbling nomads and built an empire that nearly conquered the entire world, including Europe. And he probably would have finished the job if he had lived a bit longer. How did he do it? First, he was able to unify them. And that was a big deal, because if they had continued fighting amongst themselves, they never would have amounted to much. Sound familiar? Second, he made a small but significant change in policy: he promoted based on merit, not blood. Which put the best people in the most important positions. I hope that also resonates with you, because we need to adjust our policies to follow in his footsteps. Granted, without the ruthlessness and piles of bodies.
But we need to approach our situation with the same logic. We need to revise our process so that we can come together as a nation, instead of squabbling over the perceived merit of various philosophies. We need to revise our process so that we put the best people in the most important positions, not the ones who are the best at campaigning. We can then allow them to collaborate – instead of bicker – and implement all of these fantastic ideas. Then we can get on with stacking the bodies of our enemies – the healthcare crisis, racism, crime, poverty, immigration – in a big ol’ pile.
Subtle changes, tremendous difference in results.