After reflecting on this past years’ events, I have a few thoughts.
I don’t have a long history of political activism. In a way, this gives me a unique perspective. I am neither jaded nor do I have an embedded political agenda, which helps me observe with a beginner’s mind.
In a speech in 1858, Abraham Lincoln said: “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” This was true then and true now. But the nation did survive that period and no doubt the nation will survive what looks like a ‘house divided’ once again, except this time on steroids.
There might be people reading this wondering what I’m talking about. There are some who say there is nothing going on except politics as usual. That may be true, but does it have to be that way?
My congressman, Tom Suozzi, 3rd District, offers insight on how and why we are so divided. And so partisan. It has to do with voter participation on local issues.
It starts with getting candidates on the ballot. The far right and left work extra hard to get their candidates on the ballot. That’s where the extreme partisanship starts. Next comes the primary where voter participation is already alarmingly low. And then there’s the actual vote. In 2017 it was 24 percent in Nassau County.
In the end, what you have is a voting electorate voting on very specific issues that are super important to them. But there are countries around the world who spend more time thinking and legislating for the greater good. They are community-based and look for solutions that work for the majority.
As we start the political conversation in 2018, I plan on thinking about what it is I am advocating for and whether it helps more than just me. Maybe this is a start?