Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Get in the aisle

I hate primary elections.

I have not joined a political party because I don't want either one to take me for granted. A political party is exactly like a religion: if you spend enough time looking and listening, things will get weird. As a party loyalist, you have to take the weird with whatever attracted you in the first place. As a true party loyalist, maybe the weird was what attracted you in the first place.

No solution for an entire town, county, state, or nation should belong to one party. Human problems should be solved in heterogeneous gatherings focused on solving civilization's problems, not advancing a narrow agenda to claim victory for a specific team. Humans like to form teams. Solutions may originate deep within one team or another. Using those solutions to claim a greater value for the team as a whole is good advertising, but poor public relations. Yes, the two can exist simultaneously. The good advertising reaches a susceptible demographic while excluding and alienating a whole spectrum of the rest of the population.

Politicians often speak of reaching across the aisle, working across the aisle, describing their willingness to cooperate with the other team to get important things done. The strength of the political party comes from its committed loyalists -- and its deep-pocketed donors -- to form opposing forces that come together in tenuous truces.

I'd like to see both parties small enough to drown in a bathtub. Most of us should stand in the aisle and make the hard core partisans come to us. That's not to say that every solution plows down the middle of every issue, diluting every effort into a slurry that's half gravy and half sewage. Sometimes you have to steer hard left or right to negotiate a particular challenge. No subdivision of political belief should be able to claim that vindication in one instance endows it with automatic credibility in any future situation.

People tend to look for others who think the same way. Like-minded individuals will form groups. Out of these can come great synergy. Ultimately, however, decisions made on behalf of all people need to be vetted by as many of all the people as possible. If most of us are in the aisle, that's where the like-minded will have to come to sell their idea.