Tuesday, December 14, 2010

NO LABELS: Not Left. Not Right. Forward

If what they say is true, that necessity is the mother of invention, then NO LABELS is the offspring of today’s hyper-partisan politics. With the growing popularity of “extreme” media (FOXNews, MSNBC, Limbaugh, etc.), the systematic removal of moderates from the public arena and the rise of extremely vocal and divisive partisan groups like MoveOn and the Tea Party, the “necessity” has never been greater.

From the Washington Post:

A coalition of Democrats, Republicans and independents came together at Columbia University on Monday to launch a group aimed at taming the nation’s hyperpartisan politics.

No Labels is not a third party, its leaders said, but rather a home for Americans turned off by deepening divide between Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals.
On Monday, December 13, the group had is kickoff event, with speakers including, Mayors Michael Bloomberg and Antonio Villaraigosa, Senators Bayh and Lieberman, and Governor Charlie Crist just to name a few.

With the Motto: “We are Democrats, Republicans, and Independents who are united in the belief that we do not have to give up our labels, merely put them aside to do what’s best for America.”  The group hopes to build a network of citizen activists throughout congressional districts. The group plans to monitor the new Congress and call out the lawmakers who they think are TOO partisan while celebrating those that reach across party lines to find solutions to America’s problems. One of the group’s founders, Republican consultant Mark McKinnon said, “We’re trying to become a microphone for those voices, to create a system that rewards and gives a shout-out for good behavior."

With the “success” of the Tea Party, a “citizens” focused group, I hope that this group, if it remains true to its own ideas, will benefit from a grass roots groundswell bringing our country back to normalcy. The timing couldn’t be more perfect. With Republican led House, whose members who’ve gone on record promising to “shut the government down” if they don’t get their way, plus a deeply divided Senate with a slim Democratic majority, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the next two years will bring a dysfunctional government were the American people are the victims. 

For me, the November elections left a bad taste in my mouth.  Not just the outcome, but the overall vibe.  If you had the AU-DAC-ITY to work across the isle, or agree with your colleague from the other party, you were deemed "to liberal" or "to conservative."  Not only were you labeled, you were demonized.  If you didn't fully agree with the conservative agenda, you were "Un-American" or "wanted the terrorists to win."  If you didn't fully agree with the liberal agenda, you weren't "tolerant" and you were too "ignorant" or a "racist."  Our politicians were FORCED to take sides, and the more extreme you were, the more popular you became.  Sadly, the moderates in our country are the least vocal.  The vocal minority moved in and started demanding politicians to NOT compromise.  Contrary to Palin's belief, that isn't what "REAL AMERICANS" want.  The majority of Americans don't want to "pick sides."  They want what is best, regardless of who's idea it is.  They WANT compromise.  They understand that EVERYONE doesn't think the same or want/need the same thing.  But our politicians have missed that message.  And the tragic thing is, (unlike money) the disdain for the "other side" is trickling down to the masses.  You can't even talk politics without someones feelings getting hurt!  

So I find this refreshing.  I hope they are successful.   Most of all, I hope they can garner the support needed to bring about REAL change both in this myth that American's only want things that are right or left, and change in our politics.

Mitch Dworkin, a Dallas-based political consultant and supporter of No Labels said it best, "The country is not governable right now," he said. "It's a bunch of little brats and children who throw tantrums if they don't get everything they want."  

Mr Dworkin, I couldn't agree more.

CAN this group be successful?
Is it needed? 
Are our politics TOO partisan?
Is this something that you would support?
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