Romer: A pragmatic approach to politics
The insurrection in Washington D.C. earlier this month has left me to wonder if it is time for a new political party to emerge. A party that embraces the sane center, where we embrace leaders who don’t focus as much on taking advantage of, and stoking, partisan differences as they do looking at the larger picture.
I envision a system where pragmatism is valued, and conspiracy theories are ignored; a new reality where political differences are embraced and where thoughtful dialogue is valued.
After all, how we treat each other determines the kind of community we live in, which determines the kind of country we live in, which determines the kind of world we live in. Being kind and doing good are among the most powerful tools we have. We need to use them. This has been lost due to our increased political polarization.
Political polarization – the vast and growing gap between liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats – is a defining feature of American politics today. This has, of course, been years in the making and is not a new phenomenon.
Votes along party-line splits are unfortunately neither unusual nor unpredictable and reflect the deep partisanship that is one of the defining aspects of our American society today. Pew Research recently reported on Americans’ views of the opposite political party, concluding that “the level of division and animosity — including negative sentiments among partisans toward the members of the opposing party — has only deepened.”
To this, I say: unacceptable, and we must do better. I propose a pragmatic approach by embracing the sane center. A new party could do the trick, and we’ll steal the best from our current dysfunctional party system.
We’ll build on the idea of lower taxes, free market capitalism, and deregulation from the Republican Party platform. The Democratic Party platform offers the ability to embrace the notions of social equity, consumer protections, and immigration reform.
Our new party will recognize that the two major parties do not have a monopoly on good ideas; we’ll borrow a focus on civil liberties and supporting LGBTQ rights from our Libertarian friends and we’ll incorporate the need for appropriate environmental protections from the Green Party.
The guiding principle of our new party will be pragmatism wrapped in community with a free market focus. Our platform – borrowing the best from others – will solidify an economic base that is strong, diverse, and resilient. This will create an economy that provides a path forward for all and develop policies that recognize America’s place in the world, while increasing our focus on our most vulnerable populations to ensure no one is left behind.
We will focus on outcomes that are economically viable, environmentally sound, and socially acceptable. This new party will embody pragmatism over dogma; we will avoid culture wars and create a culture of possibilities. Importantly, we will cut through the noise of extremist politics from both sides of the aisle.
It is within the battle for solutions and the desperate craving for leadership that we will find opportunity. Our new party will take the high road and build coalitions to support things that work to move us forward together.
Creating this new party of pragmatic centrists will be our own generational challenge. We must place an emphasis on critical thinking, empathy, and problem solving and will remain focused on civility, integrity, and compromise. I hope you’ll join me on this path forward – the view from the middle is pretty great.
Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at www.vailvalleypartnership.com.