Written by: Rebecca Harris, Senior at the University of Connecticut
What do you get when you mix Democrat blue and Republican red? Purple. America is running dangerously low on "purple" people who can see both sides of an issue and compromise to form bi-partisan solutions on a MORAL basis. That is the goal of this blog, to present unbiased and non-partisan information that shows both sides of an issue, and to inspire the American youth to educate themselves and influence change. An educated young electorate is vital to Democracy. This blog will be a champion of facts, and an enemy of information influenced by partisan ideology and political bias. I want to help eliminate the disconnect and disinterest that is present in my generation, and inspire social responsibility to educate ourselves.
The views expressed in this blog are my own
Most words associated with the word “politician” are, let’s face it, negative. I have heard from multiple people around the hill, democrat and republican alike, that behind closed doors policy decisions flow smoothly, there is a lot of bipartisan compromise, and realistic solutions are created. However once in the public eye, these “politicians” suddenly become, in my mind, too scared of sacrificing re-election victories to make the right decisions.
It seems that the general attitude around government is this: Yes we all agree that it is a sad thing that politics plays the largest role in policy making and that because of politics and re-election campaigns lawmakers are so cemented in ideological ground because they’re afraid to stray from their base even if it’s in the best interests of the country. But even though we all recognize there is this culture of inaction in government due to this, to win the game you have to play the game, so we are all going to play the game. My argument to that is this: If a majority of the people agree that this political game is flawed and is having a detrimental affect on our country’s well-being, why can’t we change it? We see examples of the devastating affect this culture of no compromise, no “purpleization”, is having on the country every day. We’re going through an economic depression, trudging through the largest budget deficit our country has ever experienced. The health of American citizens is taking a hit, shown by the fact that we are 50th in the world in life expectancy, and 41st in the world in child mortality rates. Something has to be done.
In college sometimes you are assigned to work on a group project for a class. Usually the teamwork goes one of two ways: one way is that one person rises as the natural leader of the group, a person who the group trusts and respects, and everyone else follows suit to what this person says and wants to do for the project. The other way, is that everyone finds a way to work together to accomplish the task at hand contributing equally to the outcome. If the ideas in the group clash too harshly and there is no compromise, and no project is agreed upon or handed in, you get an F. Why can’t we apply this same idea to government? In my last post I quoted Sen. Lindsey Graham, a republican senator from South Carolina who said “If you don’t give up some ideological ground, the country sinks”.
What it will take are people in leadership positions in our country to lead by example. That means people stepping up regardless of whether they will get re-elected or not, and changing the political climate of government for the better. Standing up for what they know is right and making policy decisions based on what is right, not what will get them re-elected. It would be a sacrifice for the greater good of the country, and if the majority of people in government change their behavior to reflect this new culture of morality and accountability to what is in the best interest of the country, I believe we would see a substantially positive change in how our country runs.
There actually is a real life example of someone putting this idea into practice. Ever heard of Buddy Roemer? He was a former Louisiana governor and a candidate for the 2012 Republican Party nomination for president of the United States. Never heard of him? That’s because he ran on a platform that stressed campaign finance reform, announcing he would limit campaign contributions to $100 per individual. AS a result he raised very little money compared to the rest of the candidates, and the reason he did not attend any of the Republican debates is because he failed to meet the 7% minimum polling popularity requirement to participate. I think Roemer’s efforts should be highlighted, not only by myself but also by the mainstream media. If Roemer’s name recognition increased and he was thrust into the public eye, the American people would see a candidate who was leading by example and his polling numbers would have been substantially higher. The media has a profound impact on the population and what the media decides to highlight and give importance to. Roemer knew that he was not realistically going to win the Republican nomination this way, but he ran on principles that he strongly believed in to prove a point. He led by example.
Let’s stop complaining, finger pointing, and playing the blame game. Strong policies are born from bipartisan compromise. We need to purpleize politics, and make it about creating smart policy and less about re-election ambitions and money.