I have felt pretty negative lately.  It’s not a feeling I enjoy.  A great deal of that probably has to do with my paying attention to politics and commenting on it – it’s hard to avoid it really.  I get upset that so many people have their hopes and dreams and futures based on who gets elected or who is in office.  And if their candidate wins, then they become disillusioned so quickly.  What did they expect?  Politicians are human, remember?  They use language to get what they want – some of it exaggerated in order to get votes.

We place so much importance on the presidential election.  I wish it were not so.  I wish we would have a short election period, vote and then move on with life knowing that regardless of who gets elected, not much would change and our lives would not be greatly impacted by who is in office.  But apparently that isn’t the case.

We have seen a ramping up of language about the “other” side of the political aisle for the last several decades.  We’ve seen slogans come out – “vote or die.”  The extremes have become more mainstream.  Is it any surprise that we end up with candidates who appear to be more of a caesar rather than a president?

Is it any surprise that we have presidents (yes, that’s plural, this isn’t new) who give the finger to the legislative process by issuing executive orders to get what they want instead of working through the legislative process?  Why bother having a legislative branch at all?  It’s much more efficient to just let the executive make all the rules.  Of course that approach has been the norm for most of human history.  It’s called tyranny.  It’s worked out so well for so many – not!

Forget about the actual rules that the President just laid down for a moment regarding guns.  Let me ask you a question – if a president issued an executive order that went around Congress that you disagreed with, would you be upset by the result of the order (what it does), or by the action taken (the process)?  I would guess most people would be upset by the result, not the process. But if we don’t pay attention to the process, then the new way becomes the norm – so much for process.

The question that gets more to the point is this – do the ends justify the means?

I’m not pleased by the idea going around Congress just because the president can’t get along with Congress and vice versa.  Elections have consequences, as I’ve heard both Democrats and Republicans say in the past.  You have to deal with the people that were elected.  Sidestepping them means you don’t trust people to make decisions and you aren’t willing to work with people.  Yes, I know, Republicans in Congress are just as bad in this regard.  Where are the adults who are willing to stop pointing the finger at the “other” side?

Here’s another question – Is it any surprise that we have a group of armed men who took over a federal wildlife refuge because they can’t get what they want through the established legislative and regulatory process. If the process doesn’t have to be followed by our elected officials, why should we expect citizens to follow it?  (That’s not an endorsement of what these men are doing)

Here’s the summary version – we don’t trust each other.  We want what we want and we want it now!  We don’t have time to wait for the process to work.  Urgency creates bad policy.  Urgency means doing things hastily.  Doing things urgently means using power over people regardless of what they think.  Urgent often conflicts with important and doing things well and fully.  Urgency often creates more conflict because quick decisions have to be made that create sides.

But I am tired of being upset.  I’m tired of being negative.  I’m tired of conflict.  It can be awfully draining and discouraging.

I’m pursuing something else when it comes to politics.

Here is the vision I am pursuing:  A nation of citizens who are active and take responsibility for their governance.  Because of this responsibility, the nation is an example to the rest of the world to what true freedom means – Integrity in government, a prosperous citizenry, and a bright future for generations to come.

I don’t know how this plays out.  But I do know that it’s a nation based on trust.  It’s a nation where people can disagree yet live together peacefully.  It’s a nation that establishes open processes and follows them, even when they may not like the result.

Are you tired of the current state of politics?  Tired of Left vs. Right – people making the same tired arguments for problems we face.  Tired of people talking past each other just to score some points.  Tired of 30 second sound bites to challenges we face that require a great deal of time, attention and seriousness.

So what are you going to do about it?  Maybe you don’t know. That’s ok. But, please decide that it’s time for something else, what that might look like and then start to work towards it.  Please.  I beg you.  We deserve better.