For change to occur, our leaders must understand that there is not only strength in compromise, courage in conciliation and honor in consensus-building — but also a political reward for following these tenets. That reward will be real only if the people demonstrate their desire for politicians to come together after the planks in their respective party platforms do not prevail.
I certainly don’t have all the answers, and reversing the corrosive trend of winner-take-all politics will take time. But as I enter a new chapter in my life, I see a critical need to engender public support for the political center, for our democracy to flourish and to find solutions that unite rather than divide us.
– Sen. (fmr.) Olympia J. Snowe, (R-ME)
This, THIS, is what Centrism is about…
This is a woman whose voting record stood as a testament to her desire for bipartisanship. THIS is a woman who never forgot that the Senate was never solely hers, nor her party’s, alone. As you find in this quote, and will so further find in the rest of the Washington Post article dated 1 March, 2012, she is the rarest breed of politician; she believes that it should be better.
Moreover, whether by accident or by design, she’s come by a realization that’s seemingly lost on all but a select few these days; that while, yes our political institutions and extremist politicians DO need to change the way they conduct themselves, the fault is everyone’s to share in. You see, what she illuminates, (and I currently fumble over words in my rush to explain), is that the division, the pettiness, and the heavy-handed dismissiveness that we see in our legislative branch is but a mirror of the public that elects it.
In this election season, I beg you to remember her words, hold back your own sometimes, and really listen to those whom you in a distant past once swore to be your political enemy. For, the future of not just our own lives but those of generations to come remains a puzzle we all bear some responsibility in solving. It will take compromise and cooperation, humility and respect, patience and the recognition that our system will fail to achieve in direct proportion to the amount in which we refuse to grow.