Last night President Obama focused on how our country has faced a difficult 15 years in this new millennium during his State of the Union speech. But beside reflecting (and a little bit of accomplishment bragging), there was an overall tone of hope moving forward; making America better through bipartisan efforts. His theme was "A Better Politics."
I appreciated everything the President said about climate change and equal opportunity for every American. But I believe any positive change can only happen in the presence of a fully functioning democratic government. President Obama spoke of the antics we have witnessed over the past few years with congress:
We can’t slow down businesses or put our economy at risk with government shutdowns or fiscal showdowns. We can’t put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unraveling the new rules on Wall Street, or refighting past battles on immigration when we’ve got a system to fix. And if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, it will earn my veto.
And also of the fact that there are "too many people in this town who actually benefit from partisanship and gridlock" was said out loud was important. This moved me the most because the President continued by acknowledging that most politicians do not come to Congress not do nothing. I go back and forth between believing that. This biggest issues is that special interests have a lot of pull in our government; correction: all the pull. I for one no longer find jokes about the ineptitude of Congress funny. Gridlock should not be the default.
So I believe a better politics starts with reversing the Citizen's United decision.
Today marks the 5th anniversary of the US Supreme Court Decisions to count corporations as people and allow unlimited (non-transparent) contributions to political campaigns, aka "dark money." Companies buying our government, buying our vote. I strongly believe it is time we seriously look at this issue and change it if we expect a better politics.