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Saturday
Nov292014

Obama vs. Congress - How to Fix a Lame Government

Louis Brandeis once said: "Sunlight is said to be the best disinfectant." Maybe it's high time to shed a little of it on our government.

Well looks like we're in for another "lame duck" couple of years especially if President Obama gets rapped on the hand or ripped apart for his immigration program.

I don't know about you, but I'm tired and weary of having a government that is so uncooperative, uncollaborative and just plain uncommunicative. And it's that weariness that caused me to understand why our ratings of both Congress and President Obama are so low.

I feel like the teenager of parents who have conflicts -- which are unavoidable -- that they never seem to resolve.  For me it's the lack of resolution and then lack of a full commitment by both parties to the solution that is so dispiriting.

What seems to me to be under this "failure to communicate, cooperate and collaborate" is a failure not just to listen with an open mind and understand (which isn't the same as agreeing with) the other party's position, but a failure to even make the effort.

What would make a father vs. mother or Republican vs. Democrat or Congress vs. President not want to even make that effort? Clearly there is some fear involved. But fear of what?

I think it might be the fear that if you truly listen to, empathize with and understand another person's POV that is different from your own, that you might begin to waffle on your position.  If you're a distrustful type, in your mind that could lead to the other person seeing you as vulnerable and then attacking you.  If that's not bad enough, the possibility of going back to your party and having them jump all over you for having rolled over and then throwing you under the bus might be an even worse outcome for you.

In spite of the above as a possible explanation, unless and until fathers and mothers, Republicans and Democrats, Presidents and Congress make and take the time and make the effort to understand how the other side came to their position, highly conflicted fathers and mothers, Republicans and Democrats and Presidents and Congress will remain stalemated. 

Here is a potential solution, although I'm sure many readers will say is just too idealistic and tell me I'm living on another planet.

Be it a father and a mother, Republicans and Democrats or Congress and President Obama, what I think would break through is for each side (and we'd need to find that spokesperson for Republicans and Democrats) to transparently (as in full view of children and the American public) come up with a numbered list of the top priorities that going forward would be in the best interest of the children of such parents and of the American public.  Following that, each side would need to listen with an open and interested mind to how the other side came to believe that and what other alternatives they have ever considered.

Sadly it might reveal that fathers and mothers, Republicans and Democrats, Congress and President Obama came to their conclusions more from dogma or party line beliefs than really understanding what is in the best interest of children and the American people.

One of the greatest results of such understanding is empathy.  And why is empathy so important in resolving conflicts between father and mother, Republican and Democrat, Congress and President?

Because you can’t walk in another person’s shoes and step on their toes at the same time.

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