Few seem concerned about the smaller, or at least less-visible, group still in the middle that can recognize great new ideas can come from either side.
In fact, I see a lot of great ideas flowing from both sides of the Congressional aisle. Concepts of fiscal sustainability, investment in infrastructure, the need to rationalize regulation, the need to sometimes regulate some sectors more, the belief that good ideas are often local, the sense that we are all members of one country under one government, our requirement for a leaner health-care or education infrastructure, and our need to ensure everyone is included in our prosperity with a level playing field, are ideas that will make our nation safer, stronger and more productive.
Wisdom less often flows from within than from a rare ability to see great ideas from wherever they come. A wise leader certainly ought to have a vision of where this country can go, but should also have an open mind about how to get there. We can be certain that where we will be in a decade or two is very different than where we are today. Change is always difficult, but it is also unavoidable. If you don’t like change, I am guessing you will like irrelevancy even less.
These are the realities we hope our leaders understand. To me, the measure of their legislative success ought not be in their adherence to political dogma. Instead, it should be in their ability to take good ideas from all sides and do what is best for us all, regardless of party affiliation. Perhaps the best measure of legislators’ open minds and progressivity is the degree to which they are willing to not be good Democrats or Republicans, but good Americans. How each legislator votes with the other side might be a creative measure of how well they represent the silent centrists.