THE CASE FOR STATESMANSHIP

July 19th, 2010

From Cam Mosher

For some decades there has been a growing pattern of stubborn partisanship in government and society.  Whenever people get stuck on ideologies, insisting that their particular viewpoint is RIGHT and the only way to believe, the problems that face us can’t and won’t be solved. The only result is either dictatorship or gridlock.  This applies to government, religion, social and cultural issues, and all aspects of human relations!

In our amazing republican form of government, the best good for the greatest number is found in finding compromise, modeled by the Founding Fathers who created it.  The Fathers represented states with very different attitudes on very pressing issues. Out of this diversity of opinions, ideas, and regional differences, they forged a system of government that requires debate and demands compromise in order to function for the greatest good for the diversity represented in the nation.

This required that the Fathers put the good of the nation higher than their own personal viewpoints. They held those viewpoints, and argued them, but when the decisions had to be made, they demonstrated their ability to work “across the aisle” and find compromise solutions. This is true STATESMANSHIP.  To me, the greatest legacy the Founders left us was Statesmanship.

I refer to my earlier post, “WHAT WE NEED IN CONGRESS.”  Our form of government is messy, by design! Whenever either party has a supermajority in any legislative body AND there is a demand for ideological purity on either or both sides, we have polarization. The supermajority may get their will and impose it on the minority, but this is dictatorship.  And the minority will invariably become a voice of NO against the imposition!

I call myself a conservative (see my earlier post, “MY MEANING OF CONSERVATIVE AND LIBERAL,” in which I give my personal definitiion of the terms), but in government, I am a centrist, meaning that I believe that for government to function and come up with workable solutions to the problems we face (the economy, banking, health care, immigration, unemployment, national security, the deficit, the national debt, education, the environment, energy, global climate issues, technology, foreign relations, poverty, race relations, drug abuse, and on and on), we must elect representatives to Congress and our state legislatures who are capable of working across the aisle to find compromise solutions.  Otherwise we will continue to have bitterness, rancor, division, we will be ruled by dictatorship of the supermajority, and the problems will continue and grow.

In the current atmosphere of ultra partisan movements and “idealogical purity,” we are fostering exactly the opposite of what we need to address and solve these problems

The movement we most need now is a move to the the center. Some might call it a move to moderation, a word that is anathema to some of the talk radio folks. We must recognize that as a nation, our collective political position is nearer the center, and extremes at either end do not represent the nation as a whole.  We must reinstate a valuing of Statesmanship and elect people who can work across the aisle to find compromise solutions that represent the incredible diversity of this great nation.  If solutions are to be found that work for all of us, they must be found somewhere nearer the center.  In our diverse nation, the extreme viewpoints of both the right and the left will not bring us together with solutions that really work!  The current partisan movements are throwing out the very people who can solve the problems!  No matter how you personally feel and believe, you cannot have your exclusive way in a nation as diverse as ours.  Let’s get real!

We once held the light of liberty as a standard to the entire world. Now we are just another squabbling nation, so consumed with our own internal bickering that we give little hope nor example of solving our own problems, let alone how to solve the problems of the world.  We can reverse this. But the solution is not to focus on “reclaiming the Constitution” and other such popular slogans.  It is to reclaim the way our government was designed to function under the Constitution, with elected representatives working together in discussion and debate until compromise solutions can be found.  The messiness of the system is our best hope for finding solutions that work.  The words and meaning of the Constitution may be open to debate (that is for the courts to decide) but the Spirit of the Constitution, and the example of Statesmanship set by the Founding Fathers who created it, are the guiding lights that will lead us to solving the critical problems of our times.

Cam Mosher

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