Today is “Send a Message to Congress Day.” The masses will go to the polls — or perhaps stay home in disgust — and will either throw the bums out or give the bums another chance.
The message won’t be easy to decode. Scrambled together, it’ll sound like “stay the course get out of Iraq now Bush is a terrorist seal the borders Democrats are godless global warming will kill us all God bless the Republican party…”
In a few days, the talking heads will tell us what it all means. Exit polls will make everything crystal clear. Or, not.
I’ve been reading a book by Patrick Lencioni, a management consultant, called The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Lencioni has studied company executives and thinks he has discovered 5 keys to creating a strong and unified management team.
One of those keys, paraphrasing, is “conflict is vital.” A healthy management team vigorously debates the issues the company faces, and then, when everyone has had their say, agrees to adopt a plan of action that everyone unites behind.
American politics is good at debate. Although, Lencioni would say that insults and debasing comments are destructive to the process. Politics, like corporate management, functions best when we agree to respect each other, even as we disagree. Our politics needs to disavow itself from debate-by-insult and learn respect once again.
The election itself is the culmination of the debate, the moment when we decide who to put into office and which plan gets carried out.
Unfortunately, the election doesn’t really settle much, does it? The debates will continue, long after the last hanging chad has fallen from the last ballot.
Continuous, vigorous, respectful debate is at the heart of good politics. So go vote. Send a message to Congress.
And pray that God will give wisdom to the men and women elected to lead us.