Hayden’s guide to watching the parties’ national conventions in the next couple of weeks

Not only have the political parties become increasingly polarized in the past 8 years, there has been considerable coverage of splintering with the parties, particularly the GOP.  Since the Tea Party was gradually co-opted after its 2010 victories in the mid-term elections, other factions have sought to control of the party and define the party’s goals.  In the next couple of weeks, you may hear claims that unless their platform is victorious, it will be “the end of the world.”

It’s amusing to go back and look at the coverage of previous conventions in the past 150 years, and see the other ones that also claimed that it would be “the end of the world” unless their candidate and their party won.   It seems like it’s happening more often here in the 21st century, and we may find ourselves wondering if they’ve cried “Wolf!” too many times, and if this is one of the reasons that so many Americans have lost trust in our political parties, and in the fairness of the political process.

If you find yourself watching something along these lines in the upcoming GOP and Democratic national conventions, ask yourself what a better process could be.  What would be better for our country, than using our nation’s biggest challenges as skewed sound bites to embarrass one’s opponent – could we actually make a dedicated effort to address these challenges, and not just in the rhythm of the election cycle?

Imagine, if you will, coordinating a nationwide focus on one major issue, such as education.  What if, instead of devoting energy, publicity and resources toward how that issue – which is critical in the lives of everyday Americans – can leverage a particular candidate’s future, that a core group who believe in our country’s future dedicated their efforts to assessing the problems and identifying innovative and feasible solutions, to present to legislators and to state and local governors and councils?  Then the next year, a similar group of new individuals dedicated their efforts to another issue, be it national defense, veterans affairs, poverty, etc. – while the first group continues in their support of education issues to get the needed legislation, policies, and resources in place to make a difference on that front?

I see this as a path to success for our country, instead of ammunition for one of the political parties.  Imagine, if you will, the change in the trust of the American people, if they could see for themselves the progress toward a better condition – in their own states and counties, as well as in Washington D.C. – and the emergence of long-term solutions, not more PACs or Occupy movements, or even bigger government?

What if there was an “end of the world” of the kind of politics that has thrived on brinksmanship, incomprehensible debt, and loyalty oaths?  Do we fear boredom, if we lose the political reality show that we seem to find ourselves in now?  If you find yourself watching the conventions, step back from the hype and consider how much of a fear factor is playing out, in the competing “end of the world” claims.

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