Time to change our political system.

The current political environment in our nation attracts a certain type of individual to run for office. Unfortunately, such people are not the ones we need running the country. With Russia and Ukraine on the brink of war, ISIS galvanizing strength with its penchant for brutality, storm clouds forming in East Asia, and a host of domestic issues plaguing this nation, we need a new breed of leaders not the same old politicians.

We need men and women who place the welfare of this nation first, not their own reelection. Instead we have politicians who say anything to get elected, irrespective of how deceptive or inaccurate their comments. They convince themselves and their constituents that politics requires such behavior because their opponent will say or do anything to defeat them. As a result, we have two chambers of Congress filled with lying, conniving, self-serving men and women.

In contrast, we need individuals who speak with honesty and integrity and demand the same of their political allies and supporters. We need men and women who serve with humility – who serve their constituents not their party. Humility requires senators and congressmen recognize they don’t have all the answers and work collaboratively with the other side of the aisle. Their first instinct is to identify common ground with peers and develop solutions for the nation’s problems, not lock horns, saber-rattle, and frustrate progress. Sadly, most politicians do what their party wants and adopt an all-or-nothing approach to legislation. Compromise is viewed with disdain.

It should surprise no one, then, that the men and women who would serve admirably in Congress and achieve significant results for our nation rarely entertain the idea of running for office. They are unwilling to subject themselves and their families to the ruthless, despicable, and mean-spirited rhetoric that courses through most campaigns. They are equally unwilling to level such corrosive discourse against their opponents because they value integrity and respect more than victory. Sadly, our current system appeals to those who value victory more than veracity or gentility.

We need a new political structure that displaces the two party system currently in place, which is destroying America. Leadership from both parties focuses too much attention on securing and maintaining majority power and too little on making the nation great. They exploit for political gain every misstep of the other party and its leadership. They play political gotcha with each other’s statements.

Both parties frame elections in ridiculously inflammatory terms. One side argues the other side opposes our nation’s safety, promotes lawlessness, and despises freedom. The other side insists its opponents are waging a war on women, hates the poor, and is racist. Such extreme language accomplishes nothing except fuel the bombastic cancer corrupting the capital. Unfortunately, painting opponents as extremists appears to persuade a majority of voters and so the season of silliness continues. On that point voters bear a portion of the blame for the decline of our government’s effectiveness.

We need a new system and new breed of politician because the two parties share disturbingly similar positions on critical issues, despite their supposed differences. Perhaps most problematic is that both parties are beholden to advancing the interests of wealthy individuals and corporations, at the expense of the middle class and poor. Money funds campaigns. So neither party will ever prioritize the good of the country over those with obscene wealth – they can’t afford to. The ubiquitous campaign ads in which candidates claim to support the middle-class are fraudulent, mere rhetoric to hoodwink voters. Politicians advance the interests of the middle-class only when it aligns with the interests of the elite.

Additionally, both parties covet power and will do anything to retain it. Sitting senators and congressmen exert enormous power and influence. So it’s no surprise federal elections attract those who lust for power and want to monetize that clout. In contrast, those lacking a passion for influence and affluence rarely possess political ambitions. Any desire to make a difference in Washington is outweighed by the sleaziness they would have to subject themselves. Capital Hill is not for anyone unwilling to get a little shady.

Bottom line is, we can do better. We must do better. Our current system serves the interest of no one except corrupt politicians, the well connected, industry elites, and the uber wealthy. We cannot afford to maintain a political structure designed to help those groups. It’s time we replace the current construct with one that genuinely serves the people rather than gives it lip service.

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