Its been barely a week since the last presidential election, and you can still feel the tremors of political change settling into the nation's consciousness. The outcome of what was projected to be a fairly close election has both the left elated with the prospect of cementing the legacy equal to the Great Society, and the right shattered, in fear that they've lost America irrevocably to those who would trade in guns for new taxes. I can't help but wonder if really the left is elated and the right shattered because of the outcome in and of itself. Modern politics is like a game of football, and the electorate its fans. The motto "Just win, baby" has taken such a strong foothold in party politic, that it has enabled a dangerous game of ends justifying the means. How can we have reached a point of polarization where exactly half of the population is exactly opposite on all issues from the other half? Why it is ok to validate our own ideas simply through demonizing our opponent's? When was it that what America really wanted became style instead of substance? Like a donkey led by the nose, we let the parties tell us what to believe.
I confess I was one of these fanatics at one point in my life, but I found myself utterly unfulfilled with the false promises and fear mongering that parties use to mold their base. In my disillusionment, I had an epiphany that genuine rational inspection of the facts was not guiding my values, but my emotional connection to my party. It is strikingly difficult to be honest with yourself about re-approaching the issues you've lived with for years from an open perspective. For me, it started with the simple question, what are the issues of the opposition that I can most agree with? Its something I believe we should all be able to ask ourselves honestly, and we should all be able to identify something if we are being honest. For me, my views were so tightly ingrained that it has taken years to break down the walls of bias. But last week, for the first time in my life, I was registered independent instead of to a party. Last week, I voted for a candidate from a party I used to not be able to trust, as well as a candidate from a party I used to embrace.
This period of introspection has helped focus my mind on what values are most important to me. These are problems that should transcend politics. First, that the great task of our generation is to regain our nation's tenuous grasp on fiscal responsibility, so that future generations will enjoy the prosperity we have built for ourselves, rather than suffer the burden of debt we've left them behind. Second, the very institutions of Democracy on which our nation is founded deserve a honest appraisal on how they can be improved and maintained to better represent the people of this nation. It is primarily these ideas that will be the focus in this blog. As naive as it may sound, I hope it helps to contribute to a responsible discussion of the substance, while avoiding the traps of partisanship. I hope we can all find this new tomorrow we so often hear about.