“And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.” Gen 13:8-9
Sorry for being away for a while. I was traveling for much of the past two weeks on business.
First a little background.
Our state government in Michigan just started a new two year legislative session. As a result of last year’s elections, control in House switched to the Democrats. Before they lost control last year, the Republicans repealed a business tax which generated $2B in revenue for the state without replacing it with another comparable source of revenue. Over the past eight months both parties have been attempting to blame the other for a deepening budget crisis, while larger economic issues are forcing school districts across the state to close schools and fire teachers because of funding shortfalls.
I received a call last week at work from someone who works for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. I believe he was seeking my support as a small business owner for this standoff. I shared with him how disappointed I was in the adversarial stance that everyone has been taking in situation. He tried to tell me that it is all the fault of the Democrats, forcing me again to remind him that I expect the Republicans and the Democrats to do their job. That job is to govern this state in the best interests of all its citizens. It is irresponsible to waste time attempting to affix blame when our economic base is eroding and our school system is suffering. At that point, rather than respond, engage, or perhaps apologize, he quickly wished me a nice day and hung up.
For the democratic process to work, you have to have people like Abram who seek the greater good. You also have to have some balance in the power structure. Otherwise, we end up with the same sort of excesses and abuses of power that we’ve seen in Washington over the past six years.
I do believe that the American people have had enough of “gotcha” politics and are looking for leaders who understand and practice the fine art of compromise. The next election will certainly be another opportunity for all of us to hold accountable those who have attempted to divide us.
The good news is that it does now appear that a Democratic tax plan has emerged that is gaining support from Republicans and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. It is my fondest hope that I was just one of many expressing displeasure last week, and that led the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the Republicans to rethink their strategy and choose a wiser course.