Welcome to What Should Be.
For 24-years I’ve lived and worked in our nation’s capital. I’ve had the opportunity to experience Washington, DC from a number of professional perspectives, about which you can read more in the About link in this website. I’ve been given a bird’s eye view of just how poorly our political system is working for us these days. What I’ve observed is a system that, putting it generously, isn’t firing on all of its cylinders. I call it broken, fixable I believe, but definitely broken.
What should be? How about a political system that actually works by addressing the myriad of serious issues that face the country? It’s not happening now. How about a system that isn’t so polarized and partisan that little that’s worthwhile ever gets done? How about a system where all of us, leadership and citizen alike, realize the complexity of the issues we face and eschew the simple, embrace the complex, and commit to navigating from an accurate roadmap, i.e., getting the facts straight before we advocate solutions?
As you might guess I’ve concluded we are very far from what should be. The 2008 presidential campaign surprised me to the degree that one candidate, the eventual winner, actually made “change” the central theme of his campaign. By voting for Barack Obama, the American electorate signaled strongly that it wanted and expected change. And it got that change in the form of a President who was the antithesis of George Bush in many ways. It remains my personal view that the country is better for it. That it not to say I approved of Senator Obama’s campaign. He, like his opponents in both the primary and general elections, pandered to the special interests and the ideological purists of his party. This pandering has continued and has significantly complicated Obama’s goal of bringing real change to American politics.
I have devoted a good portion of this blog to talking about energy policy. Having spent my career working in the energy arena I understand energy. However, it is patently clear that most of the American public, including all too many of its elected officials, simply don’t understand energy. I would call it a willful ignorance. Energy myths, or fictions, abound (including the myth of “Big Oil”). Additionally, few Americans have any concept of just how central energy is to almost all of the major issues that face our country. It is my firmly held belief that if we don’t get energy policy right, we’re not going to get much else right in the coming years – running the gamut from defense and foreign policy to the economy and the environment. It’s all about energy, or very close to it. I note that the imperative of dealing with climate change, and I do regard it as an imperative, will involve energy policy. Without a comprehensive energy policy, well conceived and executed, we cannot hope to address climate policy. Again, it’s all about energy.
I describe myself politically as a “centrist”, meaning that I am ideologically neither left nor right. I despise the simplistic ideology of both the far left and right and I regard the political center (between the 35-yard lines of the American political spectrum) as being the place where it is possible to craft solutions in the public interest. While some may regard any given “solution” as left or right ideologically, such ideology isn’t my concern, rather it is rational, fact-based public policy in the national interest. I also want to make clear that I’m not advocating a “center” where wish washy “split the baby” compromise takes place. No, the center I’m envisioning is the place where real and non-ideologically driven solutions can be crafted. What are the chances of this occurring? Not a prayer. For now, with only two political parties dominating the political scene, I have every reason to believe it will be business as usual as ideological purists on the far left and right vie to position their respective parties so as to be able to win the next election. I refer to this as the battle of political partisans for power. The country’s true interests will be sacrificed in that battle for political supremacy. My own suspicion is that it’s going to take election of a significant number of political “independents” to Congress, something that doesn’t appear likely to happen anytime soon, to really shake things up. Of course better yet would be election of an “independent” President. There is almost no likelihood of that, despite the plans of American’s Elect.
I am also highly skeptical of “bipartisanship”. I believe that bipartisanship won’t work as it is, by definition, the product of partisans attempting to negotiate outcomes that on one hand are in the national interest but on the other won’t disadvantage the partisan’s own political party. Good luck.
What should be, in my humble opinion, is total commitment to doing the right thing – that which is best for our country and, ultimately, the world. This blog will, I hope, constitute an argument for America to rethink how we elect our leaders and formulate public policy. We need to make “doing the right thing” the core driver of our process of developing public policy.
I want to hear from you. All comments not otherwise deemed offensive will be posted. The best will be singled out and discussed. I’d like this site to start a movement of like-thinkers who can join together to start a revolution of sorts – a revolution that gets the system back on the tracks and headed to a place where the country’s political system is actually producing results in the public interest.
Please join me. Register on the site, post comments, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.