A Conversation With a Twenty-Something American (Part 3)

It’s not fun having to deal with the reality that is the current American political system. One smart and successful young woman recently took me to task for my columns advocating for more participation — suggesting that there has to be a better way. She implied that most clear-thinking people want nothing to do with the rot that is today’s political process.

She wrote:

It’s not realistic to expect people to drop every semblance of real life and devote their being to baby kissing, glad handling politics. They held the yeoman at high esteem not because of their Ivy League intellect or years of political experience, but because of their common sense routed in their hard work, and that they would take nothing for granted.

As for Ivy League intellects — I’ve given my views on intelligence here — those “Ivy Leaguers” crack me up.

The email continued:

I know this is pointless rhetoric but one thing keeps me thinking it’s possible and that is that I’ve managed to conquer similar feats in private industry. I managed to start a business from the ground up alongside my family. All of it we did without any safety net but knowing that if we approached it right and tried hard enough we could probably make it work. Sure enough we did okay. I think that if more people thought that the same upward mobility was available in politics as it was in business we would see a better quality player in the game.

Again, I couldn’t agree more. I would only add that the same amount of work applied to getting a business built from the ground up is inescapable in politics. Those who will attempt to sell a short cut will have a lot of explaining to do. America hasn’t arrived where it is today — with the political left dominating education, media, and the entertainment business without the labor of many liberals over many years. The political right can and must apply the same dedication to building a counter-force. Again, nothing in politics moves unless it is pushed.

She wrote:

I know that all of this is possible in business because it’s a free market, but it seems to me the same principles are not at play in government. I still think that people think anything is possible in the free market but not so in politics, and I agree.

Count me among those who think the current system only operates as it does because too many good people have abandoned the political field to morons. She continued:

They’ve (whoever they are, and often times they are the party we’re a part of) decided the rules of the game and how long it should take for the freshman to earn their dues and all success requires that dues be paid. We have someone else writing the rules and we’re just playing the game. And more and more, those people writing the rules do not seem to have our values in mind, but rather their own career.

My answer to that is simple. We need to throw the bums out — all of them who still subscribe to this rotten structure. But that is going to — yep — require the time and effort of a lot of new blood.

She concluded her email with this:

I still believe that Obama didn’t win…we lost… The groundswell is out there, they just need someone to attach to. But I don’t think that person will rise from the same ranks that are carrying Barack Obama’s water and apologizing for when they spill.

Fortunately, there is always a rising generation. Lately, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a number of twenty- and thirty-somethings and have been encouraged by the intelligence and ability of many of them. Those of us in the older generations still on the field have much work ahead of us to make sure we’ve done everything possible so the battle — as we hand it off to these youngsters — will still be winnable.

From what I’ve studied of the founding era, it seemed that many of our nation’s founding fathers struggled with pessimism as the years passed. It’s easy to imagine the struggle for optimism is always taxed because of the negative tendencies of human nature.

I have a hard time believing, however, that the heirs of those who threw off British rule, ended slavery, overcame economic depression and won hot and cold wars alike, can’t rise to the current challenges — ‘rise’ being the operative word.