Mayor of Newark, Cory Booker, recently used a term on a news show that seemed almost ancient. In a discussion of the current fiscal discussions he said, “we need a radicalization of the center of our country…people who aren’t ideologues but rather pragmatists.” The use of that term received my full, immediate attention and, in fact, I replayed it three times to make sure I got the gist of his message.
What he was saying is that the time has arrived for those in power to take a stand for the things that are right and need doing, to take us out of a continual crisis mode and resolve the problems that face us. Or at least that’s what I got out of the interview.
The news reports flicker across the television rattling on and on. With grave faces, the reporters and anchors relate how scary the current fiscal situation could possibly be. They relate the horrors that will be visited on us if this Congress or this President doesn’t get it’s act together. Then, the President states that the people don’t know what they want and it is up to government officials to decide what best reflects the will of the people. Right.
If “the people” are like me, we all know what we want. We want to live our own lives, we want the infrastructure, i.e., bridges and roads, to be in good repair and safe condition. We want utilities that work, housing, and food to be available. We want schools that will educate our children and prepare them for their future. We want the right to healthcare that is efficient, responsible, and affordable under normal circumstances. We want a government that isn’t fractured into positions and coalitions supported by PACs and special interests. We want more pragmatism and less foofaraw. We want a balanced budget and fiscal responsibility.
We want to see fewer politicians on television or radio and more work coming out of Washington. What we really want is for Washington to reflect what we are. What we want isn’t what we’ve got.