When you hear a politician, Congressperson or Senator use this phrase, it oftentimes is followed by extreme rhetoric rather than more reasonable discourse. It is standard phrasing for people who have tended to not do their homework. So, usually I am skeptical of the next sentence following this phrase.
Whether it is Senator McConnell, Senator Reid, Speaker Boehner or Congresswoman Pelosi matters not. Senator DeMint used this phrase again yesterday before he recommended severely gutting programs that would help people in need. This phrase was used on both sides of the political spectrum when the Super Committee on Deficit Reduction failed to the do their job over the past few months.
I cannot speak for the American people, but the legitimate polls I have seen reports on or read about tend to say the American people are extremely dissatisfied with Congress and say the number one issue by far is the economy. To state the obvious, Congress includes all 535 people representing their states – Democrats, Republicans and Independents. It is a collective failure and I look to their leaders on both sides to find a remedy. It also includes the White House as well, so the President needs to be included in the mix.
The other issue that the polls say Americans want addressed is the economy. That does not mean spending time deciding on whether “In God We Trust” is our motto or pushing forward pet issues on either side of the aisle. It means we want our leaders to discuss openly and constructively how can we get the economy moving again and how can we create jobs for our unemployed citizens.
This American would like our leaders to do their jobs rather than worry about keeping their jobs. I do not care where the idea comes from, but good ideas need to be solicited, welcomed and discussed. Oftentimes in brainstorming sessions, the most elegant idea is the not the first one thrown out – it may be the one spawned by an idea mentioned by someone else. I do not care who gets credit for the idea. I do not remember the source, but I read once that a great leader actually defers credit to others. The one who wants to show others it is his or her idea would run counter to that premise.
Brainstorming is a collaboration of ideas and idea creation. The art of collaboration holds the keys to our problem-solving. Those who do not collaborate are being short-sighted and may be missing out on the best solutions. So, when I see the lack of collaboration or when pundits advocate for such, we need to kindly ignore them and restate that a vital part of the job of our leaders is to do just that – collaborate. At least that is what this American wants.