In response to The Daily Post prompt: “Dear Leader”—if your government (local or national) accomplished one thing this year, what would you like it to be?
“Why can’t we all just get along?” In 1992, Rodney King appealed for calm during a rampage that followed the acquittal of four police officers charged with assaulting him after a high-speed chase.
King’s quote is not a bad one. Currently, many citizens harbor low expectations in terms of government leadership. Most officials are too small-minded—trapped in short-term agendas—to think big, much less wisely.
Nonetheless, a few modest efforts have caught attention.
Joe Manchin, a Democrat frustrated by Obama and gridlock, decided to keep his Senate seat, though he considered stepping down after 2016. He hangs on to the hope that centrists from both parties will have a shot at repairing the crumbling infrastructure. He also dreams of instituting realistic laws and new interventions to combat the nation’s drug epidemic. Manchin would not mind seeing the departure of Harry Reid, the minority leader.
In late May, a bipartisan committee in the Senate proposed a bill that would allow the Department of Energy (DOE) to grow its science programs by 4 percent per year for the next five years. (The House passed a new America COMPETES Act* along party lines. It includes 10 percent cuts in environmental research at the DOE and the Advanced Research Projects Agency‐Energy.)
When Republicans reclaimed the Senate last January, Senator Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, was mindful, indeed practical, that his party would get results if they worked with moderate Democrats. “We’re going to be getting a report card very quickly from the American people regarding how we are able to legislate.”
Each side thinks it has the moral high ground. However, it might be fruitful if both reexamine their rhetoric and prejudices. The first step to leadership entails reasoned, informed debate, not backbiting. Only then can government officials tackle major issues.
Decision 2016: is there authentic leadership? The public is in for a wild ride. Whether Republican or Democrat, good luck to anybody who thinks down the middle.
*Complete text to H.R1806—America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015
The Daily Post Prompt: “Dear Leader“