Synergy. It is one of my favorite concepts. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Together we are stronger than we are individually. Or as Jack often quipped on LOST, we can live together or die alone.
Synergy. The ability of people to come together, work cooperatively, and together create something stronger, something bigger, something more important than we can do alone.
I see this over and over, when working with my clients, to our students who come together for a project or team effort, and every day I see examples of cooperative action and its importance to us all.
Shockingly, do you know where I don't see synergy in action at all? Congress. State legislatures. Local politics.
Our two-party system has devolved into the Hatfields and the McCoys. Or more accurately, the Haters and the Musers. There are those who will do anything, say anything, tell any lie to get what they want and those who won't but who barely put up a fight while they consider every option. It is a pissing contest between two groups who seem to have forgotten that they are there to represent WE THE PEOPLE. This is important -- they represent us; they don't rule us. And they aren't there to represent corporations, special interests or their own particular brand of religion.
We have the one faction that seems hellbent on forcing whatever it wants, including its religious beliefs on the rest of us. One minute shouting that we can never infringe on a constitutional right, and the next shutting down health clinics to do just that. They spin and squirm, and when they are confronted with logic and facts, they are willing to lie, manipulate or lash out to deflect the criticism. We see these masters of the universe engaging in a campaign of misinformation so complex they seem sometimes to forget they are speaking out loud and spout the most nonsensical of nonsense. They wrap themselves in a false cloak of patriotism and play on peoples' fears and insecurities to undermine the policies they deem unacceptable.
On the other side we have a group that can't seem to recall why they were sent to govern or who voted them there. They are slightly ineffective, seem timid and only come out swinging every third or fourth pitch. We see them engaging in sometimes petty tit-for-tat mentality plays and most of the time, just shaking their heads at the antics of those on the other side.
Now, don't get me wrong, the duality of partisan politics is exactly what the founders wanted. They believed a minority opposition was essential to our system, providing some needed checks and balances. What our founders could never imagine is the absolute lack of civility, honor, trustworthiness and reason being displayed by these new players. These self-proclaimed "patriots." The "darlings" of the "tea" "party" are not statesmen and women. They are not patriots. Some of them seem ignorant not only as to the procedures of our government, but on basic skills like spelling, math and history. The gerrymandering, races rigged by Republicans and then redone in retribution by Democrats are a big part of the problem. But the even part of the problem is this belief by the few that they are more important than the many. That they have the right to lie, manipulate, rig and wrangle whatever they want to achieve their goals. They don't care about the method, and it seems to be leading them to madness.
That this small group of fanatics in this extreme caucus is willing to throw away several hundred years of democracy to get what they want has had a polarizing impact on our system.
They forget that the founders who they love to quote but don't really understand drafted the Constitution so we had freedom of religion, and guaranteeing we also had freedom from religion in our government. We aren't guaranteed many things. But that is one they were pretty clear on. The pilgrims came here to escape religious persecution and a tyrannical rule. And if you think insisting a woman has to have a vaginal probe because you don't like our laws isn't a tyrannical persecution and abuse of power, then you don't understand our Constitution.
And we have allowed it to happen. We took the "pursuit of happiness" part as more important than we did the protection of our freedoms and we sat back and watched as slowly money and fanaticism replaced patriotism and civility in our government.
And the time has come for us to get together and fix it. To form a coalition that is stronger than any of our individual efforts. We the people have a duty and a responsibility to future generations and to each other. We aren't here to hate each other. We are here to create a more perfect union. We are here to be a community. To find a way to continue our evolution. No man is an island, right?
I don't believe we are here to be isolated. I have many friends who refuse to even consider that they have a civic duty. They ignore my constant pleas that they get involved in local politics. "The system is corrupt," they tell me, or "politics are boring." "Both parties are equally bad," they say, as if they have no responsibility to making them better or allowing them to become what they are.
We need to remember this, our country was founded by a bunch of rabble-rousing activists who believed that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were worth dying for. Don't you think it is at least worth a few hours a month of your time?
Come meet me for a coffee. Get in touch. Let's talk about what really matters to you and how we can get started making that happen. Monthly discussion group meets the first Sunday of the month, What Matters Most, my Sunday salon. Come and be a part of the synergy being created.
Reach out via Facebook at Political Junkie & Malapert
Find out how to get involved locally through your Democratic Committee. Come to a School Board meeting or local Council. Call your state legislator. Reach out to your member of Congress. This is our country. Let's take it back.