The debt crisis, the potential for default, and the last-minute compromise were the hot items on the news and talk shows for weeks. Buried in all that were lessons to be learned that have nothing to do with world finance or economics.
Remember, I do not take political sides. I look at how the message is delivered and how we react to it. We would do well to consider the communication, or lack thereof, that we recently witnessed.
At a recent party, a Democratic friend voiced an idea for saving billions while at the same time addressing the drug problem and the immigration problem. The Republicans there loved it. It was a good idea. It was logical; it made sense. It solved four problems simultaneously.
I have friends who are Republicans and I have friends who are Democrats. As I spoke to them, taking my own unofficial poll, I found they agree on most major points regarding the debt ceiling and the budget crisis. If they are in accord, how can their representatives in Congress not be?
Was this a case of poor communication? Is there some other way the electorate should be telling their representatives what they want?
Perhaps the root of the problem is buried in the word “representative.” Its definition, from Merriam-Webster.com, is [emphasis mine]:
1. Serving to represent
2.a : standing or acting for another especially through delegated authority b : of, based on, or constituting a government in which the many are represented by persons chosen from among them usually by election
We do not live in a true democracy where everything is put to a vote and decided upon by the citizens. We live in a republic. We select people to represent us. Those individuals are acting for us, not for themselves – according to the definition above. And that must be the point of the communication breakdown. Either we or they do not understand what it means to represent.
I sure hope that gets resolved or it won’t matter how good the communication is.