Pay Attention.. Grow Up.

There is a really thought provoking piece in Time magazine this week called “In Defense of Partisan Bickering” by Michael Kinsley. He makes some really astute observations and touches on something that I feel really strongly about: ending partisan politics.

…it’s pretty clear what Americans want. They want an end to partisan bickering. They want pragmatic solutions, not ideological posturing. They want leaders who reject politics as usual and put the country’s interests ahead of the party’s. They want a government that will do the right thing, regardless of whether it is “liberal” or “conservative.” They don’t like labels. And, oh yes, they are tired of spin.

Amen.. I totally agree with this statement. In my mind, the partisan crap is what is causing all of this inertia in federal government. We aren’t debating and solving the issues. We are simply spinning our wheels and battling each other.. like the Hatfields and the McCoys. The article continues however to say something that I don’t agree with fully:

This postpartisan era everybody wants is not going to happen, and the great longing for it is childish. What Americans say they want–or even what they think they want–needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Their objection, very often, is less to politics than to arithmetic. Do they want our health-care system fixed? Yes. Do they want Social Security and Medicare on a more solid footing? Absolutely. Will they pay for these things? Not a chance. There are no pragmatic, nonideological solutions to the big question of what the government should do and what it shouldn’t. You can have your government programs and pay for them, like a good liberal, or you can have your tax cuts and forgo the programs, like a good conservative. Asking for both is the opposite of pragmatic.

See, here is where I wonder. Are Americans really against taxes? I’m not so sure. I think that if we trusted our leaders and we understood that the government is not made of magic money (like we thought about our parents when we were children) we would willingly pay taxes for things that we as a majority supported and would grudgingly pay taxes for things that we as a minority were against (because we would understand that fundamentally we were doing the right thing).

I believe that we as a citizens have to grow up and be adults. We have to decide what we want and then we have to make those things happen. We have to stop sitting around waiting for someone to change our diapers and feed us. How do we make that change? Little steps. We vote, we demand that the media starts to give us news instead of propaganda, we talk to our friends and neighbors, we actually pay attention to the world.. Are these hard things to do? Really? I don’t think they are…

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