Note: This is a post about political discourse not about political ideologies.
I’ve always been interested it in politics. I’m sure a lot of that stems from all the great time that I spent with my dad growing up, when he worked for various politicians within the Michigan legislature. I remember, when I was as young as 8, going door to door to pass out fliers for a political candidate.
I remember when I came to Washington, DC when I was in 8th grade for a Promise Keepers conference. I remember being in awe of all the austere buildings and the powerful men and woman that worked in them to make our country as great as it is.
It’s kind of ironic that I now live inside the Beltway, inside Washington DC, and a stones throw from the Capitol Building. (Well maybe it’s a bit more than a stones throw but I can see the Capitol Building out the window of my apartment.) Plus I don’t work in politics, like I would have originally thought when I was a youngin’. I work in technology.
While I’m still very interested in politics, I grow exceedingly frustrated with the level of political discourse that I hear day in and day out coming out of the hallowed halls and from the political mainstream and even Internet media. At times, it feels akin to baboons throwing feces or baboons thumping their chests, while they wait for the rest of the animals in the jungle to acknowledge how they are the greatest in all the land.
Instead of hearing true discussion of the ideas, with the goal of coming to the outcome to best serve the American people, politics is more how can someone craft a strategy which will allow them to best their opponents and ride back to their districts on white horses so that they can preserve their powerful positions for as long as humanly possible. It seems like politicians only really care about listening when it comes time for them to get re-elected.
Granted, I realize that I’m making broad generalizations. I’m sure there are politicians across the country whom really care about actual governing and whom thrive on the what their constituents have to say. These are just my general feelings after 25 years of life.
Tonight, I went a bookstore in Northern Washington, DC to see Joe & Mika from MSNBC’s morning television news show Morning Joe. Mika was out promoting her new book. I’m drawn so much to their show because I feel like it’s the only political show that doesn’t make me feel stupider for having watched it. I don’t feel like it’s trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator. There are smart guests and thoughtful discussion from all the parties. While there may be heated discussions over times, it’s always in the spirit of wanting to work together and flesh out the best way to look at the issue.
It was interesting at the talk/book signing that Joe and Mika were doing. You’d think that with Joe taking more of the “first chair” on the show and him being a Conservative Republican that the bookstore would have been teeming with Republicans. It was actually almost the opposite. My buddy Shaun and I were some of the only Republicans in the room. I think the popularity of the show amongst both sides of the aisle shows that the desire for thoughtful discourse is something that transcends political party.
My only beef with the television show Morning Joe is, what am I supposed to do after the show is over at 9am? Television is great but it’s only a one way medium. I can’t have that conversation back with the people on the set of Morning Joe.
There needs to be some type of grassroots organization that’s built to help extend and promote these type of thoughtful conversations between people that want to see progress in this country. I guess maybe it’s why I ultimately moved away from a career in politics to that of technology, entrepreneurship, and working at a start-up. Entrepreneurs look to how they can work together and solve problems.
The thoughtful and intellectual conversations that I had around the tables of coffeehouses and out in the quad, while I was at university, were amazing and some of the best experiences of my life. Now that I’m out in the world, working, and trying to find my way, where and how can I find the community that wants to find and discuss ways to move forward and then actually go out and pursue them?