In any conflict, there are two parties trying to get their way. No party sees its goals as invalid or evil. Rather, the harder they fight, the more they see themselves as on the side of good, and their oppnents as on the side of categorical evil. Any problem we have is one party getting their way in disregard of everyone else. For each party, America’s problems are still solutions, so long as the other party is humiliated by it. Parties will keep getting their happiest result despite the needs of America until something changes.
We are not well served by winning the battle with the other side, we are better served by identifying what it is that we both want, and stepping outside of the conflict to work jovially on the agreement.
When two parties with two opinions have to solve a problem, is it better that they solve the problem cooperatively, without questioning each other’s judgement at every turn We fix problems better and faster competitively, with the two parties racing to the same goal, than adversarialy, with wide disagreement on the goal itself, and absolute distrust of many of their motives and positions.
We’d obviously solve problems better cooperatively, but I’d like to talk about something else today.
I want to step into the head of your average Tea party Republican and ask just what are they thinking?
What if the goal the two parties choose to work towards cooperatively is the wrong one? Wouldn’t you want someone to stand up to the general lunacy and say, at last, “No”. “No” to the deficits, federal overreach, erosion of values and orders that have been around for the last hundred years. “No” to a world without commitments, morals, or consequences. And finally “No” to a government that tries to equalize when it should enable, by getting out of the way, not trying to manage everything.
I agree with some of that, and disagree with the rest. I tried to put it all in charitable terms though, because scorn of my opponent is a sure way to give themt the advantage. Given that the Tea Party is made up of the better-educated, wealthier solons of their communities, we cannot assume they are incompetent rubes. They just disagree with Liberals and politicians, and they are clever enough to get their way.
So what do they really want?
Smaller, leaner federal state and local governments that keep the peace without getting in everybody’s business. If we could have that, I would bet much of the Tea party opposition to the government as it is would dissipate.
I say we give it to them.
The problem is that the desire for that government has been couched as an intervention, and not a jovial conversation. But there’s little reason why we can’t still have that better conversation.
Next time I’ll talk about the debt, deficit and stock watering. I’ll then be about ready to resume talking about what really matters.
Jazz concert reviews.