Political gridlock in Congress has intensified over the last several years and the result has been too many large issues like immigration and educational reform remaining stuck in limbo as argument and innuendo trump action on too many critical issues. Add in the speed with which social media commentary now flows and you have a toxic national environment where very little is getting done.
The good news over the past few weeks is that there have been real glimmers of hope as Republicans and Democrats have joined forces with enough votes to approve the Iran nuclear agreement, restructuring of Medicare reimbursement rates and fast-track trade authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Columnist Ruth Marcus in her column in the Washington Post called for "tempered optimism." She wrote: "The lesson of the recent achievements is that when the proper forces come into alignment, there are navigable paths through the gridlock."
Do these recent agreements reflect a major turning of the tide in the nation? It is too soon to say. But it is not too soon to reach out to your elected representatives and say thank you for these breakthroughs. In a world where criticism and critique spews into the national dialogue with a click of the mouse, it is even more important to take the time to actually thank our members of Congress for these accomplishments.
Many people will likely respond that reaching agreement on major issues is the reason the members of the House and Senate were elected to Congress. That is true, but it is also true that sending thanks and encouragement into the ether is a tilt in the right direction toward a more civil nation.
As part of your messages of thanks, let them know other issues you consider vital to the nation. And urge them to apply this new bipartisan salve often and abundantly.
There is an old English proverb: You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. We have had several years of way too much acidity in Congressional relations. Saying thanks, encouraging this nascent trend toward cooperation with honeyed words of thanks and encouragement might help. And it feels so much better than angry diatribes and finger-pointing.