In my life I have had the honor of working in the U.S. Congress as a legislative aide and in a Presidential Administration as a humble political appointee. During those ‘working bee’ years, I came to understand how our nation’s legislation is written, enacted and executed. Admittedly, I came in pretty ignorant…I actually kept a book at my desk that broke down what we all should have learned in our Social Studies/Government Civics classes in grammar school. Alas, nothing is a better education than being immersed in the daily grind of it all, down to the most mundane amendments written for bills on the House Floor.
However, my personal work experience in DC Beltway politics also served to affect me in a negative way. One of my bosses went down in an ill-gotten scandal and although I already had garnered a jaded chip on my shoulder about politicians on both sides of the aisle–this one was pretty jolting.
My first inclination was to walk away altogether from politics for a while, but I did enjoy carrying out and interacting with ‘the people’ that have the power to elect and vote out these lawmakers. Thus, when opportunity knocked to become a political appointee and work at the U.S. Department of Treasury, I leapt into it.
I can truly say that my post at Treasury was the hardest I had ever worked in an office environment in my career so far. The people I met and worked with were among the highest caliber and yet I also came in contact with some who were so power-hungry and obsessed with subjects not necessarily in our nation’s best interests. My political and bureaucratic education was once more expanded and it was extremely difficult to avoid becoming disillusioned further–again, both political parties to blame, neither better than the other.
Is the answer to abolish our heavily two-party system? No offense to Independents, Libertarians, Green Party and so forth, but the Democrats and Republicans do have the most members and money of all our other political parties in this country.
Although the speeches between the politicians, the pundits and even the public has become so poisonous at times, I cannot believe that getting rid of the balance of powers would ever work for our nation. Just as I can debate with my husband, my family, my friends and even strangers, I think it makes me a better person and perhaps more open to other ideas than just my self-formulated ones.
Many recent politicians, even our current President, have attempted to deliver a new way, a “hope for change” if you will. Please understand that sort of promise in action is challenging in the present political halls of power. Having worked with others who believe in compromising and working things out for the best of our people’s interests, even those persons in powerful positions have run and still run into the wall of “the way thing are”.
Having said all of this, I still firmly believe that our system of checks and balances in our government is the best for our time in our nation. Another solution to consider is personal responsibility for everyone involved: the voting public, the worker bees in government, the lawmakers and elected officials. Just as if we all simply let someone pass in front of us while we drive on the road this week, everyone would enjoy driving much more than the common ‘road rage’ many of us endure daily–we should consider that if everyone did their active part for our nation’s local and federal governments, there would be less griping about ‘the system’ because the system simply deconstructed is designed for “the People, by the People.”
Note: A trip to Epcot with my son and a close friend yesterday yielded this thought tangent after viewing the Presidential show in the United States section–random but true:-)