Learning anything of value from the goings-on in the Washington Beltway would seem to be an oxymoron, but perhaps there is something worthwhile to glean from the mistakes made there. For instance, when it comes to the issue of partisanship, I always hear people talking about putting a halt to Washington’s partisan squabbling. Still, nobody really wants their politicians to do anything but represent their particular views, which are usually highly partisan.
The reality is that substantive differences exist. The same could be said for our industry; we have real differences between the free free-market people and those who are more protectionists; those who support free enterprise and those who support government intervention to ensure certain outcomes, etc.
But, unfortunately, also like D.C., we have those who employ various forms of class warfare and hatemongering to divide people, not based on facts but rather the pursuit of power.
This week, we had another classic form of the type of partisanship. The Obama administration ignored constitutional protocol and tried to set a date for Obama’s speech before Congress without consulting Congress and preempting an already-scheduled Republican presidential debate on Sept. 7.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) rejected the scheduling, suggesting Sept. 8 instead, which also happens to be the opening game of the NFL season. So, instead of embarking on a genuine effort to address substantive issues, both camps returned to partisan squabbling and gamesmanship. Both sides were cheapened in the process.
We see similar behavior in our industry with red herrings constantly being offered in a bid to gain political points rather than solve issues. What we need in DC and in our industry are a few less politicians and a whole lot more statesmen. Real differences in opinion are fine, but constantly demonizing and misrepresenting the opposition doesn’t serve the industry.
What’s interesting about our industry is that everyone is in agreement on probably 98% of the issues, but opposition groups have formed over the other 2%. Essentially the opposition groups exist only over one issue or two; but, to retain legitimacy and survive, those opposition groups must keep those issues alive. At some point, however, all the fiery rhetoric needs to subside and allow the discussion to return to the actual issues at hand.