With an approval rating that has been less than 20% for most of the last few decades, it’s an understatement to say that most people don’t trust or believe that the government is working for them. With all the dysfunction, partisanship, lobbyists, money and closed door deals in Washington, it’s not hard to see why. But how do we return government service to an honored profession, where elected officials work to support the people, instead of working for re-election? It has to start with each of us. It’s not enough to watch Congress making grand-standing speeches on C-SPAN to an empty room. (FYI, that’s why the camera is always focused in on a close-up of the speaker, because usually no one else is there.) We have to demand more from our representatives; more action, more openness, and more communication.
A new approach, built on transparency, is exactly what we need. But what does that mean for you and how will it work? Simply put, YOU SHOULD KNOW EVERYTHING. I expect that as our representatives, they should:
- Publish a position paper, for every vote taken, that shows what they believe is good and bad about the issue, how they came to the decision, and why they are voting the way they are.
- Post their detailed schedule on the web so that everyone will know where they are, who they’re meeting with, and what is being discussed.
- Reach out to the entire Congress, inviting them to form a ‘Common-Sense Caucus’ that is based on clear and open discussion of the issues, where both sides of the aisle are invited to participate, and all meetings/hearings/discussions are conducted completely open to the public.
Only through this dedicated effort at openness and transparency can the government regain the respect of the people. We need to follow the example of Mia Love (R) from Utah, and her push for single subject legislation that allows for clear discussion and debate of individual ideas, rather than 5000 page omnibus bills that include everything but the kitchen sink. Additionally, all amendments must be germane. It’s exactly this type of approach that allows for open discussion and compromise on the issues that are important to the people and the prosperity of our nation. This is how we move past the fighting and actually get things done. Together.