By Andrea Morisette Grazzini
Former Republican Congressman Mickey Edwards has come out with the claim that bipartisanship is achievable in Congress “only if the public makes it clear that it is not compromise but lack of compromise that will be punished.”
He’s crossing a threshold that has taken far too long for politicians and pundits to get. No question, the beating Edwards’ party took in the recent election is a painful wake up call that has many catching up to clearer thinking on the pragmatism of cross-partisanship.
Though it is deeply troubling why and how it took them so long to get it.
His thoughts, which Bill Moyers picked up on in his own piece: Achieving Bipartisanship: Now What? remind me of commentary I wrote just after the 2010 elections: Imagine a New Kind of Movement — Toward a New Kind of Democracy, for MinnPost.
Apparently pundits like Mr. Moyers and politicians like Congressmen Edwards didn’t catch on to (or more likely, see) my point. Perhaps it’s because I’m just one of the girls–women in still far too many sectors of our society, including politics, who’s abilities and contributions have been largely ignored. Until, that is, an unprecedented amount of them were elected to Congress this past week. Who knows?
In any case, now, Moyers, Edwards and others seem to finally acknowledge (knowingly or not) what I meant just after the 2010 midterm elections when, I called for:
Commitment to a cooperative government
This new movement’s only demand would be a common sense of commitment to a cooperative, cross-partisan, co-productive government. Implied would be the demand that politicians themselves, not their PR handlers or party proxies, clearly demonstrate their democratic leadership abilities.
This would call for a “show, not tell” attitude. And would require, instead, measurable evidence of leaders’ very specific and sustained involvement in and impacts on expedient and respectful solutions.
The carrot — or more aptly stick, incentive behind the movement’s message would be: “If you can’t play nice politics, don’t plan on surviving the next election.” Which, as evidence and history suggests, would otherwise likely engage partisan passions just enough to swing the populist pendulum back to reset again. This and other troubling evidence increasingly shows that short-term change is unlikely at best.
Get in the game — and support all citizens
The underlying point for liberals is if you don’t get into the game, you’ll be out. For conservatives, if you don’t support all citizens, get ready for an uprising.” (May I point out: I was right on both counts.)
Like the female Congresspeople, I’m not going to wait for a call from the big boys before I take action for our Country’s causes. But, to be sure, women and many others like me have a lot to offer—but can’t do nearly as much good if our efforts aren’t recognized. I’d be delighted to engage more, if only I could convince more to respond to, replicate, integrate and amplify efforts like mine.
Or, better yet, give me and others more places and more opportunities to do so. And, how about for decent pay?
May I suggest mixing it up on more editorial pages and think tanks with feminine perspectives, like, if I may be so bold: mine? Even so-called progressive places like New York Times, The Brookings Institute and Minnesota’s Humphrey School for Public Affairs notably lack balance.
I want to help our Country. But, people like me only can if our Country is willing the hear what we have to say.
2012 Andrea Morisette Grazzini
CEO, WetheP, a start-up e-democracy company