The 2012 election has resulted in few new faces in our nation’s capital. Our president and the Democratic Party may be tempted to assert some dominance by running with what some might argue is a public mandate around economic fairness where the wealthy pay a bit more. Yet, the notion of asserting dominance is itself shortsighted. What we need is leadership – from every elected official in Washington and not just the president. Regardless of our political persuasion, we need Washington to work and it is in our best interest as a body politic to ensure that it does.
Our work must be to ensure that we get the best leaders from each state by holding candidates to standards of leadership that go beyond the exercise of power which now seems rooted in divisiveness, massive amounts in campaign spending and salacious noise on the airwaves. As an enlightened public in support of representative government, we must be concerned with the quality of leadership by those seeking permission to lead us.
At its core, leadership has to outline the vision, unify the masses and most importantly, appeal to the very best in us. Different from despots or power mongers, leaders tap into our higher more virtuous selves and help us imagine a universal good. We need party leadership that is focused on doing what is right for all of us even if we cannot all see it at the same time. In turn, it is our responsibility to demand more from our elected officials.
Can and should we organize to ensure the best candidate is presented regardless of our party persuasion? For a nation obsessed with competition, doesn’t the strongest competitors bring out the best in all of us? And let’s not forget about the rules of the game. No longer can it be by any means necessary. Boundaries of truthfulness, decorum and respect – particularly for us and our intelligence – must be established and demanded.
As idyllic and overly optimistic as this may sound today, it challenges us to be the country of lofty ideals grounded by a solid foundation. In the wake of the Obama grassroots machine and the advent of the mid-term elections, what does a win for America look like? We elevate the conversation amongst ourselves and set the bar so high, we force our politicians to come up to meet it.