how can our politics reflect our best?

Ten years ago this month marked our first annual “State of the Government” address. While there’s still circumstance but a lot less pomp in our presentation than in the nation’s annual evening address, allow me to semi-humbly contend the ongoing conversation is of great worth.

Consistently, the Intramuralist has shared the belief that our government is:

  1. Too partisan 
  2. Too influenced by money
  3. Too big
  4. Too financially imbalanced
  5. And too far removed from the Constitution. 

Last year we inserted an additional “too”:

We are too divided. 

That grieves me. All one had to do was watch last night’s SOTU address. From the initial partisan chants to the rhetorical calisthenics to the concluding ripping of the President’s speech, with all due respect, the elect on both sides of the aisle are fueling the division. Let us make excuses for no one’s disdain nor disrespect.

So in my intensifying grief, allow me to boldly but respectfully ask, how are we contributing to the division?

… do we make excuses for any of the above?

… what about the way I treat my so-called brother and sister?

… do I refuse to believe a person unlike me could actually be my brother or sister?

Pres. Obama reminded us in his final State of the Union address that the state of our government is unworkable if “we think the people who disagree with us are all motivated by malice.” He shared that “Democracy grinds to a halt without a willingness to compromise; or when even basic facts are contested, and we listen only to those who agree with us.”

He challenged us…

“How can we make our politics reflect what’s best in us, and not what’s worst?”

Let me gently assert that the current state of our government is not reflecting our best. Last night’s SOTU was not reflecting our best.

For any of the elect. For any of us. And that is this year’s State of our Government.

So what can we do? What can we do to change the current trajectory of our state? If the division continues, if each “side” solely attempts to win more to their “tribe” and engage in such obvious, partisan processes, next year’s State of the Government will be no different; it may be worse. 

So what if we recognized that maybe, just maybe, a government reflecting our best starts with each of us? We can’t control the elect, but we can stop defending the disrespect, whether it be comes from the President’s Twitter account or in the House Speaker’s chair.

Therefore… starting with us…

Let us honor our brothers and sisters. Let us love each other well. All others. Let us listen to one another. Let us listen more than we speak. Let us learn from the different. On all sides.

Let us stop being selfish. Let us stop justifying why we are so right. Let us do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. In humility, let us value others above ourselves. Let us actually look to the interests of others. And let us never forget that the great big God of the universe created us for something better. Let us never consider equality with God as something to be grasped. Let us be a more humble people. Always. No matter if discussing the State of the Union.

Maybe, just maybe, we could start there. Starting with us. It just may reflect what is actually best.