Last Wednesday, the day after this year's US presidential election, I posted a statement here I called An open letter to the Republican Party in which I outlined my dismay and disappointment with my own political party, the republicans.
My goal, as much as anything, was simply to get off my chest the things I've been feeling for some time now. Things that make me less and less supportive of both my own party's actions and the actions of politicians in general.
I posted a link to it on Facebook mostly because I hoped a few of my friends might at least take a look. Really, I expected it to end right there.
I couldn't have been much more wrong.
In the five days it's been up, my blog post has been viewed almost nine thousand times. My Facebook link to the post has been re-shared well over 100 times. And, I've been engaged in long and mostly-thoughtful discussions on the topic here in the blog, in Facebook, and via that old standby, e-mail.
I couldn't be more surprised nor, if I had to admit, more pleased.
Because, what I've learned is that I am not alone in my disappointment. Maybe misery really does love company, but with regard to what I perceive to be a problem like this, the only chance of getting it to change is to have a lot of people determined to change it.
And, from what little I can see from here on the second floor in Columbus, Ohio, there is a lot of support out there for a change. Not an Obama change, a real change. A change in the way our government works or, more to the point, doesn't.
I have been heartened by the passion and the support I've seen for my meager words. Minus a few respondents from the far right fringe, there has been an amazingly supportive stream of responses from people on both sides of the aisle.
What this has done for me is confirm what I believe to be the passion in our country for a real change of dialog. A return to a more civil level of discourse and to people with differing ideas working together to find the best possible compromise for our country.
People have been asking me how to make it happen and the real answer is, I'm not sure.
Having said that, I think our country is at the point of almost begging for a revolution of thought. Not a revolution of arms--nothing so radical as that--but a change in the workings of the political system and the way all of us deal with it.
As a practical matter, it would be incredibly difficult to try to create another political party. Look at the Libertarians or, for that matter, the Tea Party. It might actually be that the Libertarians are what we're all looking for in a political party but it's pretty hard to know. With Joe Lieberman as your headline guy, I think it's pretty hard to get a lot of passion going among the millions of people it would take to make a real difference.
More to the point, if the way you win elections is with billions of dollars of support, I don't see anybody other than the two major parties--including the Libertarians--getting that in the short term. But I could be wrong.
Unfortunately, I think it's probably almost as hard to imagine making a substantial change in the Republican party, although I have to say I think they are closer to being willing to consider new ideas than they've been in a long while. But they have a lot of baggage, so I'm less enthusiastic than I'd like to be. Still, it might be possible.
What we need in any workable scenario is a groundswell of support from the people. At the end of the day, that's the only thing that can heavily influence change. Corporations and the wealthy on both sides can pour their multiple millions into the support of whatever they like, but at the end of the day we still have voting, and it's the tally from that which is the final determinant.
I think the timing for something like this is pretty good. If the response to my little blog post is any indication of the pent-up passion out there, and I think it is, it seems like there are a LOT of people ready for some kind of substantive change.
I've been thinking more and more that if there is a solution to this, it may lie in some combination of technology and media. If you look at the power literally sitting in all our hands to communicate widely and immediately through things like Facebook and Twitter and all the rest of it, there is the possibility of the basis for a solution.
Maybe, just maybe, there's a way to leverage the power of these technologies, the masses of people, and the determination that there has to be a better way to work to build an effective and influential base without spending the billions of dollars it took Mitt Romney to lose.
And, I think we need a Rush Limbaugh / Bill Mahr type of media person for sensible government. The problem is, sensible thought and reasonable discourse are not likely to be nearly so entertaining as the ranting and raving of those guys. But it seems like we need someone able to call a spade a spade and to help reinforce the imagination and the will of those who want to see substantive change.
I'm a great believer that every problem has a solution if you can just figure it out, including this one. I'm not sure how one begins such a thing.
I'd sure love to hear your ideas.
1. Carol Sanders11/12/2012 06:46:42 PM
I don't have any wonderful ideas. I think the change HAS to come from inside the Republican party, but I don't know how to start to engineer that. I'm not a Republican; I'm registered with no party affiliation, so I'm not a Democrat either. But I am interested in any path to sanity, because I believe we're not currently on that path. I'll go out on a limb that might offend conservatives out there, but I believe Fox News is a big part of the problem. Just my opinion, but there it is. I firmly believe that in a world of 24 hour news networks, the conservative agenda needs a platform, but I don't believe Fox News is it. Your examples of Bill Maher and Rush Limbaugh are apt, but I have to say that I can name so many more at Fox News that are too extreme. The left has more as plenty of proponents as well, but through my lens they aren't as extreme. There's my take. Hopefully something will happen soon to start to turn this around.
2. Luke11/12/2012 10:08:09 PM
" It might actually be that the Libertarians are what we're all looking for in a political party but it's pretty hard to know. With Joe Lieberman as your headline guy..."
3. Nathan T. Freeman11/12/2012 11:00:17 PM
@2 Yeah, I was confused by that as well. What does Joe Lieberman have to do with Libertarians?
Gary Johnson was the 2012 Libertarian candidate for President.
4. Scott Good11/13/2012 08:24:38 AM
Hah! My bad. Lieberman is an Independent. If you'd asked me to name a Libertarian, Lieberman was the only name I could come up with. Therefore, he was my first impression. Wrong, but first. Apologies around.
5. Tim Tripcony11/13/2012 09:58:29 AM
There are over 300 million Americans. If you want a billion dollars, just convince every citizen to donate $3.
6. Rob McDonagh11/13/2012 10:01:06 AM
Wow, no wonder almost nobody voted Libertarian, if people thought Joe Lieberman was the party's standard bearer. heh...
Seriously, Scott, did you ever see John Rogers' "I Miss Republicans" post from a few years back? If not, Google it - it's all about how Republicans used to be the grownups in the country, the "science guys" in suits who actually DID the math and figured out what would or wouldn't work. It's worth a look.
7. Scott Good11/13/2012 10:13:32 AM
Thanks Rob. I'll look it up!
8. Michael G. Smith11/13/2012 02:30:49 PM
I think one of the big problems is the truly bright people that want to get into politics to make a difference may be turned off by the constant scrutiny of the 24 hour news cycles and the micro analyzing of every word that comes out of your mouth. Why subject yourself and your family to that when you can just as easily be successful in the private sector? What you're left with is the idealogues on both sides who are in politics only to push an agenda - not to work towards sensible solutions.
9. Scott Good11/13/2012 05:30:51 PM
OK, here's the "I miss Republicans" link and, despite being 8 years old, pretty much right on the mark: http://kfmonkey.blogspot.com/2004/12/i-miss-republicans.html "Terrorists don't have missiles. Terrorists have VANS.
10. Gary Harkey11/14/2012 12:13:43 PM
I think it's ironic that mathematically 10% of the vote (the independents) elects the President. Both parties are polar opposites of each other taking 45% of the vote each. I vote Republican because I believe in 60% of what the party stands for. I'm sure Democrats do the same. I think the only third party that has a chance would be a Moderate party that attracts both Democrats and Republicans but also independents. Both parties need to kick the socialist and Tea Party to the side and find the middle ground.