Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Grounding a Politics that Matters

Ghandhi had a list of the "seven blunders" of passive violence that humans commit against each other, and his grandson added one. They are as follows, and meditation on them can suggest a number of topics around which we might organize a politics that matters:

Wealth Without Work
Pleasure Without Conscience
Knowledge Without Character
Commerce Without Morality
Science Without Humanity
Worship Without Sacrifice
Politics Without Principles
Rights Without Responsibilities

(This can be found at

At first blush, the topics I think do matter include the following:

Education (especially pre-K through 12)
Healthcare (securing needed care for all)
Energy independence
Fiscal responsibility by our federal, state, and local governments
Worker-focused economic policies (instead of corporation-focused)
Environmentally-sustainable policies
Scientific research, development, and ethics

November 3, 2004 - How do we get to a Politics that Matters?

It’s 6:30 am after election day. I woke up to the news that my home state, Ohio, is the new Florida. For the 2nd time in a row, we voters are so divided in choosing a president that the courts will likely do it for us. Unfortunately, this comes four years after the courts settled on the candidate who promised politics of inclusion that would bring us together under the umbrella of “compassionate conservatism.”

I note that my state (Ohio) has enacted a same sex marriage ban while the city at the heart of my local economy (Cleveland) has rejected a property tax increase to fund the public schools that serve its needy children. Higher property taxes on the city with the nation’s highest poverty rate aren’t the best answer, but the state legislature has ignored 4 state supreme court demands that it fix school funding, and the governor’s bold response has been to appoint (another) commission to make recommendations.

Our politics have been undermined and our nation is being weakened in just this way: We are polarized and enraged by moral debates packaged as important “rights” issues (gay marriage rights, abortion rights, gun rights) while important problems that threaten the future of this greatest republic in history fester or, worse, are “resolved” in quiet, cynical ways by groups of self-interested people who have the power to act while the rest of us rant and rave and exhaust ourselves.

I'm going to start writing about what I think matters and look for ways to build that into a politics that matters. I'm going going to start with Education, which I know matters deeply. I'm not sure where this is going, but look forward to conversation, collaboration, and maybe some collective direction.

If you're interested, email me at