An overwhelming majority of Americans are fed up with the suffocating partisanship that permeates our federal government. All too often, our elected officials put party politics before the interests of our country.
As a State College businessman for 40 years, I’ve become frustrated with the unbridled lack of civility, crippling partisanship and dysfunctional gridlock that is preventing our country from solving the serious problems we face on a daily basis. For this reason about three years ago, I became involved with a organization called No Labels. No Labels is a bipartisan movement of 600,000 Democrats, Republicans and independents dedicated to the simple proposition that common sense solutions to our national challenges exist, and our government should be able to address and resolve those challenges successfully. If you agree with me and are not already familiar with the group, I would urge you to check out NoLabels.org.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, I will be in Washington, D.C., as No Labels kicks off its yearlong process to build the National Strategic Agenda with a National Ideas Meeting. At this meeting, and subsequent meetings to come in Iowa, New Hampshire and elsewhere, No Labels will gather business leaders, members of Congress, state and local officials, college students and citizens to begin charting the path to America reaching its four signature goals:
• Creating 25 millionnew jobs over the next 10 years;
• Securing Medicare and Social Security for another 75 years;
• Balancing the federal budget by 2030; and
• Making America energy secure by 2024.
Everyone says we need to unite the country, but we never hear how.
This is how problem-solving is supposed to be done: Identify the big goals, get educated on the facts and forge agreements on the principles and policies that will enable our country to meet those goals. The process creates a rigorous framework for making tough decisions, which No Labels hopes will set the tone and shape the upcoming presidential debate and ultimately, the agenda of the next president, Democrat or Republican.
Instead of just more tactics to win the news cycle or the next election, this agenda sets a strategy for America for a better future for our country. America can do better, and the politics of uncivil dialogue and the blame game must stop. Many of my friends and associates say the system can never change and that I am merely wasting my time.
I say that our Founding Fathers were considered to be idealists by some, and that the Constitution they designed still endures more than 200 years later. We can, and must, build upon their brilliant and exemplary framework to finish what they collectively intended. We must define and implement a process of governance in our country built upon civil discourse and unbiased critical thinking. The No Labels National Strategic Agenda is the first step in this process.