Divided = Conquered

As a politician, our current Commander-in-Chief takes every opportunity to divide the country.  I don't say this lightly.  I say this with great sadness.  Dividing groups creates animosity that can go far beyond the political purpose at present.  Once you believe something about one group, or another, it is hard to change that perception.  Stereotypes persist because there is just enough belief that they could be true.  The more general the stereotype the easier it is to find a representative of that stereotype.  Are all blondes or peoples of Polish decent stupid?  Hardly, have you ever heard of Copernicus? He determined that the earth revolved around the sun.  Not a popular idea at the time, but now accepted as fact.

Nicolaus Copernicus

When a "leader" seeks to divide it is usually for political expediency.  It serves a purpose, but it makes relations between these groups much harder in the future.  Should Republicans and Democrats constantly battle over the future of this country.  No they should not.  We are all Americans, yet we try to easily paint the other group as evil and uncaring.  Imagine a world where we all worked towards the same goal.  I know it is hard to fathom a country where political wrangling doesn't exist.  Allow me to explain my dream.

In my world, all of our political leaders come from the ranks of successful business men and women.  I don't want someone with no experience straight out of school.  I want someone with some life experience.  By life experience, I mean someone who has held a job that required them to earn a paycheck working for a company (not only government at any level).  If you have never held a job that required you to interview and perform then you are automatically removed from the possibility of election to a government role.  If your experience comes from a job you were appointed to then you are not qualified.

So every member of Congress would have been required to have work experience in the private sector.  Another key to being in Congress would be leaving Congress.  That is right.  In my ideal world, Congress would not be a career.  There would be no member of our government that had a career in "public service".  If you are serving the public then it should be reluctantly and briefly.  Most American's can't afford to volunteer for 20 hours a week, so why should I consider a member of our government "serving" me for 40 hours a week.  If you are "serving" the public good then you could never consider it a career.  You take your turn in government and get back to the real world as soon as possible.  Isn't this the reason why the US House serves terms of 2 years and the Senate 6 years.  There was no reason why a Congressman or Congresswoman should spend over half of their term campaigning and fundraising for their next term.  You are being compensated for two years of service, yet you are giving less than half of the time expected to the role.  Ask yourself if you would still have your job if you only showed up every other week.  I know I wouldn't still be employed and neither would you, yet that is exactly what our members of Congress do.

When there is turnover in the government ranks, two things happen.  No single member of the government can hold all of the power.  They can't create a base of support that allows them to dictate policy.  We would also get new ideas.  Instead of constantly recycling the old ideas, we might actually have something new.  There would be no established power structure that might require these new ideas to work their way through years of scrutiny before they might actually see the light of day. Economically this might be good, and it might be bad, but in light of the system we currently use, would it really make a difference.  Could the economy really be in worse shape?  Could the jobs available to most American's be lessened if we did things differently?  Hardly.

In 2008, the slogan that captured the most votes for President was: "Change".  In what and from what were never made clear.  In 2012, the same candidate "changed" the slogan to "Forward".  How do you move forward unless you know where you are and where you have been?  You can't.  While catchy slogans may get votes, they do nothing to actually advance the country.  At no time will words alone change the world.  Actions are how we are judged and how every President is judged.  Sometimes history needs to look back over a long period of time to determine if policies were positive or negative regardless of how they were viewed at the time.  

Most of the Presidents in this country were effectively benign.  They neither advanced nor diminished this country.  It is the rare individual that is exceptional even at the highest level.  The misconception that even an overwhelming victory for one candidate means the populace values that candidate and their ideas is false.  Because we usually only have two main candidates for any political office, the voting is simply to say that one candidate was preferred over the other.  This doesn't mean they were even the best candidate all along.  They survived and won but only because the other option was less preferred at each stage.  Politicians should remember this.  You were better than the other person, but you need to maintain a focus on continually trying to do better.  You can always be voted out at the next turn.

Dividing our country along political lines, race lines, height lines or any other lines is simply short-sighted.  We are all Americans.  What is good for one group should be good for another.  When each member of our society pulls their own weight, that leaves much less for the rest of us to do to make up the difference.  Certainly some will be always be able to do more than the others, but the if more did for themselves we would all advance further together.  Instead of pointing out the faults of others, maybe we could do our part and expect the same from others.  Just a thought.