How does a blog that purports to be about making government better, meaning more effective, not weigh in on what has to be one of the saddest periods in our government’s history? That is the question that has been vexing me since I saw President Trump’s latest round of tweets and all the follow up to them in the last few days.
But I haven’t known what to say, frankly, and thus I’ve been sitting on my hands. There is nothing I can write in this blog that hasn’t been written by others in publications with many more followers.
For the record, I do not think that the President of the United States should be carrying on personal and vindictive attacks against members of Congress. I also don’t think it is helpful when members of Congress attack the President and each other in a personal way and I think there is plenty of evidence that members of both political parties have done this frequently and are doing it even as I write this. That breaks my heart and, to be candid, tests my resolve as I prepare myself to spend the next several months trying to convince members of Congress to do the exact opposite of what they are now doing.
But here’s what gives me hope. I am traveling on business today just a few miles from the district of one of the congresswomen under attack by the President. I talked with dozens of people over the course of the day and do you know how many were talking about this? None. Do they have opinions? Probably. Are they worried about what this in-fighting means to the principles of a democratic government? I hope so. But I am assuming that many of them, like me, were just getting their job done and wondering when will this end?
I am hopeful and optimistic the name calling will dry up when we stop paying attention to it and feeding the fire. It strikes me that, collectively, many of us are acting like the parents that scream to their children (analogy is intentional) “I told you not to use that fu*#in language in the house.”
So, let us instead focus on solutions to the policy challenges and questions we all face as Americans and encourage our media outlets to do the same. How do we put more money in the bank account of every American? How do we make healthcare more affordable? How do we ensure that our kids and the legions of other citizens who are currently unprepared for the jobs of the future get prepared? Let’s talk about that. There’s plenty of time to tell the candidates how we really feel at the polls on November 3, 2020.