I’ve heard this old adage time and time again: insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I’ve been thinking about that recently in terms of politics.
Most of us, whether we be Republicans, Democrats or anything in between, do the same thing every time the elections role around. We suck it up and vote for our party, despite what the representatives in our party have been doing for or against the Constitution. We chalk it up to the lesser of two evils, fighting for the party line, or choosing someone bad from our party over someone from the other party.
Have y’all noticed this trend?
We’re frustrated with the way things are going, we’re unhappy with our representatives (for various reasons, but the only valid ones should be the abuse of the Constitution), and yet we still vote the same people in office, or replace the old representative with a carbon copy of the old representative.
Friends, we’re never going to see change happen if we keep doing this over and over. We’re living the literal definition of insanity. We’re putting our same party-or type of candidate-in office expecting different results.
What if we did something bold? What if we stopped paying attention to party, talking points, emotional jargon and big name endorsements, and started acting like the employers we are? What if all we measured any job candidate against was the Constitution, both state and federal? And what if we all, collectively, worked to produce a new candidate (even for those smaller local races where the individual running has no opposition in his or her race), to challenge even our own party’s candidate because we know that he or she has not been fulling his or her job description: the Constitution.
How to articulate this…
We’re used to “doing politics” a certain way in this country. We pick a few issues about which we feel strongly, or as studies show, we pick a party and then take our cues from that party. Either way, we’re operating off of the barest amount of information, but information that’s thickly laced with emotional resonance. If a party line or an issue is deeply emotional to us, that’s about all we need to make our political choices.
And so, politicians both establish the party line by giving us the cues about which topics we should care or which topics are important, while they also pander to us by highlighting and focusing on the topics we say are important or matter the most to us. It’s a weird chicken and egg dynamic and political science has yet to establish which causes which. Do the people simply respond to the politicians and agenda setters (media, political elite etc) or do the politicians respond to the people? In other words, do we the people simply think that certain issues are desperately important because individuals with large platforms and influence tells us these issues are important? Or do we, on our own, based on our own personal experiences and beliefs decide what we think is important and our representatives take their cues from us and focus on what they think we think is important?
It’s likely a combination of the two and since the study of human behavior is an impossible endeavor, we’ll likely never know for sure.
But what we can know is that American politics operates in this broad based, talking point, emotional jargon, big name endorsement realm with little connection to actual reality. Our government officials do have a limited, confined job description–something they ignore and pray to God that we ignore as they boldly proclaim how they plan to fix this or that, issues not in their job description.
For instance, I spoke to a Senatorial candidate recently in my state and asked him to tell me why he was running for Senate. What are his specific goals within his job description? One of his goals was “America First”. Interesting. So, I asked, how specifically does he intend to do “America First”? To which he has little he could concretely give me. Talking point. Sounds nice but means nothing and is not relevant to the practical, real job for which he’s interviewing.
But, “America First”, even as a talking point, is what people want to hear. And yet every time we put people in office based on this platitudes, they don’t follow the Constitution and arbitrary power swells–no matter the party.
It really shouldn’t come as a surprise since we’re doing the same thing over and over. Why should we expect anything different from one cookie cutter politician giving us his or her fancy talking points to the next?
If they’re doing and saying the same things that the fifteen people before them did, why do we expect a different outcome? If they’re ignoring even the existence of the Constitution in their campaigning why should we expect them to know and follow in office? Further, if they’re an incumbent, why should we expect him or her to follow the Constitution next term if we know he or she didn’t in the previous term?
Which leads me to my “lightbulb” moment.
What if, instead of simply throwing our hands up and saying we have to vote for our party no matter the consequences, regardless of whether or not they know or follow their job description (the Constitution), we start to challenge our own party? What if we risk it all? What if, instead of justifying the continued support of party officials who don’t know their job description and know they can get away with it, we start showing them they can’t get away with it.
This, of course, requires that we, the employer, know our employee’s job description and know if they’ve been operating accordingly. Further, we better know why they should know and follow their job description (hint: avoid arbitrary power). And then it just takes us moving from simple “threats” or “talk” to actual action. We need some teeth to our threats.
What if there’s a state level politician in your party who you know has voted in favor of legislation that violates the state Constitution. BUT you want to keep your party in power and this candidate is running unopposed in the next election.
Are we really ok being this kind of employer? Are we really ok with our representatives continually trashing the job description we gave them and because of the R or D next to their name, we turn a blind eye? What legitimate business would ever survive this sort of employer negligence?
What if, instead, we stop doing the same thing and expecting different results? What if we rallied to put in a new write-in candidate, one that knows his or her job description, and one that threatens the power of the “shoo-in” candidate?
What if the new candidate won?
Change would happen.
What if the new candidate lost?
Change would happen.
Why? Because that comfortable incumbent suddenly realizes that platitudes, talking points and vague excuses for not following their job description will no longer do. They better start paying attention to their employers because suddenly their employers are paying attention to them. Suddenly, their employers aren’t going to play it safe anymore. See, they assume we always will pay it safe, so they feel comfortanbe doing whatever.
You think the founders of this country would have ever succeeded if they’d continued to write letter after letter to the King pleading for a respite or change? Eventually, the realization had to set in that their method of appeal was not working. They could’ve kept trying and hoping for a different result, but then they’d be doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different result. No. They had to risk it all. They had to declare independence and challenge the greatest military in the world knowing that failure would be worse than living like they were at the time. Dangerous liberty was worth it. Nothing would change otherwise.
Our risk, stepping away from blind party support, is mild compared to our forefathers. We always talk about “taking the risks” for liberty, but when push comes to shove, we do the same thing we’ve always done.
And expect different results.
Friends, that’s insanity.
Time to take a risk. Liberty’s worth it.
The Liberty Belle