Together we the people achieve more than any single
person could ever do alone.
My Perspective on Politics & Policymaking is the Deion Sanders’ way:
“We the people of the Unites States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish the Constitution of the United States…” (Preamble of the U.S. Constitution)
Most issues in our public life are neither binary (blue or red) nor mutually exclusive. This is true in all levels of government including the federal, state, and local levels. Most importantly, they are not a zero-sum game where one side had to lose for the other to win. The tide of public policy must lift all citizens up and the focus should be on the common good and common destiny. The old cliché is still true, that as people, we rise together and fall together.
There is a need to use the Deion Sanders approach to policymaking, where we can both be pro-business and pro-consumer, pro-economic growth and pro-environmental stewardship, pro-job creation and pro fair pay, and pro-police and pro-civil rights. We can all win and be fair to everybody. There is no need to leave anyone out or behind.
There was an old Pizza Hut commercial that pitted Jerry Jones against Deion Sanders. Jerry would ask, “What is it going to be: Football or Baseball? Offense or defense?” and Sanders would retort with full confidence, “Both.” Sanders was one among fewer than 70 athletes who played both Football and Baseball at the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB). The same can be done in public policy: policymakers can both be pro-liberty and pro-equality. There is no contradiction here what-so-ever, but we must let common sense be common.
In an adversarial system of politics, the pendulum of governance will inevitably shift either to the right or the left and lend itself to partisanship. There is nothing inherently wrong with this as long the excesses of the governing party can be countered by alternatives of the loyal opposition in a rigorous, robust, competitive, and fair elections. This presupposes a mutual respect among the parties and the recognition that the system would not work under a monopoly of one-party system. For our democracy to work, we need the Democratic party as much as we need the Republican party and vice versa. Mutual respect and civility are paramount to the health of our democratic governance.
Discourse without civility leads into hostility and even worse into intolerance. Civility is the lubricant of our human and social interactions. The demonization of the other, the us vs. them mentality, only leads to extremism and eventual paralysis.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven,” (Eccl 3:1) says King Solomon. Sometimes one party would be more suited for the country than the other. Sometimes there is a need for us to be more pro-liberty or pro-equality. Wisdom lies in the balancing act, but if we must err, let us err on the side of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”