Compromise has always been a part of our political system. The best example of that is in our Constitution. The Founding Fathers needed something to replace the weak Articles of Confederation, and the chief attribute this document needed to have was the ability to get ratified. Hence, it is filled with examples of compromises too numerous to mention without getting sidetracked.
Lately, however, our legislators have gotten into the habit of treating “compromise” as a dirty word, a sign of weakness in the ongoing battle to create a one party state. There is another word for a one party state that everyone knows: dictatorship. This is the very reason the Founding Fathers were concerned with having strong minority rights. It’s also why we have three branches of government.
For whatever reason, our nation is now split into two halves that view each other as the enemy. If you are a citizen, the only way you get representation is if you happen to share all the views of the party that is in power in your particular district or state. Widespread gerrymandering only intensifies this. 49 percent of the population may have a view that is never even presented in any deliberative body of government.
Truly Bi-Partisan efforts are so rare as to produce headlines when they do happen. Politicians also seem further to the right or the left than the actual people they represent. Our primary system is currently functioning as a device to ensure adherence to the party line with politicians who always seem to tack to the center during general elections.
I’m thinking if our representatives can’t see there way to reach compromises I think we should supply some for them. Most of you have probably heard of A.L.E.C., the American Legislative Exchange Council. They are a conservative non-profit group of mostly state legislators and Corporate members who draft model legislation that members can introduce in their own state legislatures: this type of legislation is quite common in Arizona, Wisconsin, Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Maine, as well as other states.
I keep hearing people say “We need a new party!” that looks out for the interests of ordinary people. The two party system is so entrenched in our country that starting a new party is practically impossible. The Green Party and the Libertarian Party would be good examples of this, with little chance of accomplishment save for getting the party with views furthest from their own elected.
What I’m proposing, and it’s more “food for thought” than anything else, is to form a non-profit and find young, politically minded and idealistic attorneys and others with political interests, (such as retired legislators, attorneys and even lobbyists) and charge them with developing model legislation with the interests of ordinary middle class and working folks in mind. I’m not talking about a political party, but a national clearing house for ideas.
Make it a real grass roots organization and focus on small town city councils, county commissions and small states with economic issues. I’d start out with economic issues to start, as voters do tend to “vote with their pocket books”. This would require some research and some real nosing around to find other places that have tried some new things and had some success with them. Also, some of these smaller entities already function in a mostly non-partisan fashion and there are some great examples out there to examine. There are many organizations that exist for foster civic leadership, in many corners of the country.
Just as ALEC tailors bills to a conservative audience, the organization would be aiming for the middle of the road. You might have to take a few conservatives and a few liberals and lock them in a room until they came up with a compromise that would appeal to the middle of the road: something of a lost skill that successful legislators used to apply, when compromise was the order of the day.
Since the audience is going to be the public, rather than legislatures, a good social media strategy would be key. Take surveys, ask the public for input, find volunteers and ways to address issues with that information in mind.
For all I know, there may already be an organization or several such as I’ve mentioned that I just don’t know about yet. My instincts tell me there is a lot of room out there on the wide open road, a largely vacant spot if you will. It seems to be a niche that nobody is bothering to even try and fill.