Thursday, November 4, 2010

Elections and Uncertainty

Every election, we engage in some magical thinking.

When we pull the lever or punch the card or tap the screen for our candidate, we believe at least three things, none of which is true.

First, we think that we know and understand all of the issues, and that our opinion is correct on those issues.

Second, we think that we know and understand each candidate's position, and that they fit well, at least on the important issues, with our own views.

Third, we think that the candidate will actually be able to act on those positions and get things accomplished if elected.

I suppose there is a fourth, but we rarely seem to get there these days. The fourth is that the legislation enacted will work as intended.

All of these are demonstrably false. The issues we are dealing with are far too complicated in a world of sound bite, character-based campaigning and governing. It's way to easy to spend your time in office talking about the bad things the other guy did. And doing nothing else.

The last several elections have each been a referendum against the party in power. While our problems only grow. If we want to get things done, we are focused on the wrong things. We spend way too much time talking about what we want to do separately, when we should be talking about what we can do, together.

Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to pull in campaign contributions. But now that we are back to split government, it appears to be the only way forward.


No comments:

Post a Comment