My husband got a rare few minutes to catch up on some news this morning and watched today’s Meet the Press. A few thoughts occurred to me as he told me about the commentary. Right now, our elected leaders in Washington D.C. are deadlocked over the budget and looming default crisis. No one wants to be seen as compromising for fear of losing their political futures, but it is only through compromise that we move forward. What is holding our leaders back from working together effectively?
We elect politicians to represent us and, in doing so, grant them our trust. However, it appears to me that government has a backseat driver – us. Our technology permits immediate updates on what our government is doing and allows us to provide immediate feedback, which we expect to be implemented immediately. If our leaders are not doing what we want and giving us the results we are looking for NOW, then it’s not good enough. It’s creating an atmosphere of fear for politicians. Results now or you’re out! Well, guess what, that’s simply not realistic. It’s actually quite counterproductive.
Believe me, I’m not crying “Poor, oh poor, politician.” I’m merely pointing out that our leaders cannot please everyone all of the time. If their rhetoric and antics seem like a big show for the public we are partly to blame because we’re watching every move. Poll after poll, youtube chats and staffers responsible solely for twittering contribute to this environment. Yes, there should be accountability, but I draw the line at micromanagement. Our technology climate is creating a society that expects immediate gratifications, but government cannot always deliver immediate change. Some things in this world take time (gasp!), which I think is, as Martha Stewart would say, a good thing. If we demand our government operate upon every whim of the people, a notoriously fickle group, at the moment the whim strikes, there will be no time left for any real progress.
Most people, whether it’s veering to the left or the right, live happily somewhere in the middle, but there’s no extremism in moderation so the people on the fringes who shout the loudest get heard. Everyone must think they’re Frank Sinatra because I keep hearing “My Way.” After all, we can have everything we want the way we want it right now through the Internet, television on demand services, Netflix to your door, Amazon.com, Google searches, streaming video, smartphones… so why not our government?
The next time you want to know what your elected official is doing, take a few minutes to look it up yourself. It’s all public record. Don’t want to do it yourself? You’d rather rely on all of the information coming to you? Well, think of it this way. The information that is shoved at you is like fast food, cheap and easy, but full of empty calories and you probably don’t really know where it all came from (if you did, you probably wouldn’t want it anymore.) The information you get yourself is the dinner you make at home with thoughtfully purchased ingredients; much more satisfying and you know what’s in it.