Sunday, February 22, 2009
I just finished watching Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger being interviewed on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” I was absolutely stunned in amazement by the governor’s ground-breaking approach to solving the $42 Billion economic crisis in the state of California!
Somehow he’s figured out how to bring both Republicans and Democrats together to solve the largest state deficit in the nation this year. Forty-nine other governors have been racking their brains trying to figure this out too for their own states, and for the nation. Not to mention Obama, the Fed, and all the others. Arnold’s solution? “Listen to the people.” He said that to get out of this emergency situation the people asked for two things: spending cuts and tax increases. So that's what he's doing. Stunning, isn’t it? Who woulda thunk? I’m not even sure if I remember what "listen to the people" means, do you? I remember reading about this out-of-the-box concept in my 6th grade civics class, but only as a theory, of course. No one ever really practices it! At least that’s been my experience. Until today, listening to Arnold. The concept is probably as unfamiliar to you as it is to me. So let me try to explain. (First, I have to dust off my brain cells in this area.) I think the basic idea is that as “public servants” (Gov. Schwarzenegger’s term, not mine) your primary responsibility is to “do what is right for the people” that you govern, not what is necessarily right for your party. Wow. Crazy huh? I KNOW. It's such a difficult concept to get your head around. But—please!—try to stay with me now... I thought the whole idea of a “public servant” disappeared long ago from our vernacular. In fact, wasn’t it about the same time (coincidently) that “elected office” transitioned into a stepping stone to further one’s career into a more lucrative job offers down the road? The idea of actually listening to what the people are asking for, and then drawing up policy based on that is… well, antithetical to what political parties are all about, isn’t it? When Stephanopoulos asked Schwarzenegger how the rest of his Republican Party is reacting to his leadership, Schwarzenegger responded that “we have to get beyond the fighting between the two parties—whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican—and do what’s best for the people.”
There it is again! “Brilliant” is the only word I can come up to describe such radical thinking. I have no idea whether this vintage concept will ever catch on in a big-time way among members of the two parties. But just the thought of it makes me want to sit in the yoga “lotus” position for several hours just to reflect on the profundity of this idea!