The NEW Game of Politics

“It’s time we stop screaming, shouting and insulting each other. It’s time we see other points of view without insisting or demanding that our view is the right view or worse, our view is the ONLY view. Let’s stop talking at, and start talking with one another again.”

— Your humble Blogger

The EVIL of Two Lessers!

American politics is critically ill. The patient is nearly on life support.

Forced to choose between two extreme alternatives, a large number of Americans will pull a lever, push a button or punch a card today with the empty feeling they are settling for less than they deserve.

If any of them are like me, they feel they are casting their vote for the evil of two lessers.

I mean no personal offense to either candidate. Both men are loving fathers and devoted family men. I respect each man’s talents and abilities. I applaud them for their public service, and admire them for enduring the rigors of the brutally tough game of politics. I’d gladly have a (near) beer with “W” and share a bottle of Merlot with Kerry.

But neither candidate truly speaks for me. From the hundreds of people I talk to regularly, neither candidate speaks for most of them, either.

It’s pretty clear that politics needs fixing when the politicians who spark the greatest enthusiasm among the electorate are not on the ballot. The people we trust the most to lead us are not in the game. With the mind-boggling talent we have in our country, it’s a blight on our house that the choice comes down to the evil of two lessers.

You need not look any further than “The American Conservative” magazine to confirm the choice between the “evil of two lessers” and why it’s time for a NEW Game of Politics. On their website, post-dated for their November 7, 2004 edition, they reluctantly proclaim through clenched teeth their endorsement for president of the United States with the headline…

“Kerry’s the ONE!”

The American Conservative endorsing John Kerry? Ouch!
(Article here: TypePad )

Left, Right – Left, Right…
Politics is not a Military Game!

Most Americans don’t view life from the far left or the far right. On some issues I am conservative (meaning to “conserve and preserve”), and on other issues I am liberal (meaning “open to other possibilities”).

As strange and contradictory as this may seem to people on one side or the other, there are some issues in which I hold both conservative and liberal views. Call me a “flip-flopper.”

Here’s a paradox many of people can’t or don’t want to understand:

It’s possible to hold two opposing views on the same issue, and see merit in both.

Most people do not reside at one extreme end or the other of the political spectrum. Yet, the game gives us a limited, forced choice between liberal or conservative, left or right, Democrat or Republican.

The game is rigged to favor the few at the extreme, at the expense of the many in between.

Conservative is not a radical, fanatical, fundamentalist, imperialist ideology as some on Air America radio might suggest, and liberal is not a disease contracted by slimy, spineless, treasonous traitors as Ann Coulter and her ilk would have you believe.

Call me Ann, we can debate this over dinner. :)

(Here’s Ann’s site with her view of the world: TypePad ).

If you listen to blather radio or watch the boob-filled tube, you would never know there is a middle of the road in America, people who can actually see both sides of complicated issues. What you’d hear and see is a small circle of people representing the firmly entrenched extremes, trying to shout louder and persuade harder that theirs is the only valid world view. And for that, many of them get filthy rich.

Over the past decade, since the “cable shot heard round the clock” the media has steadily degraded in content and courage. More has become less. It’s devolved into a gladiator style sporting event, full with split screens, scrolling news, visual montage, and on air entertainers disguised as news commentators. With a few notable exceptions, the media has all but abandoned any pretense of providing a forum for civil discourse, sensible discussion and open debate. Instead, they choose to be a three ring circus doing a 24/7 high wire act.

I applaud Jon Stewart and Bill Maher, two fellow Jersey guys, for shining a light on politics and the media for what they have become. With the media tightly run by a small number of very rich people and powerful companies, it’s inevitable that we at the end of the pipeline get spun and filtered news. Forget their slogans; look at what this mighty medium serves up.

It’s a national disgrace we don’t have a public forum for civil dialogue and honest debate that doesn’t degrade into a highlight reel from the Jerry Springer Show. It’s demoralizing that politics has become so downright dirty and disgusting, that the best and the brightest among us won’t play the game knowing our private lives would be instant tabloid fodder. Who doesn’t have a skeleton or two in the closet?

There are legions of Americans who would like to serve the public good and be active in the political process, but will not get in the game, knowing the minefield is really a pigpen filled with politicos slopping at the trough.

Politics has always been a dirty game, but in the past much of it was done in smoke filled rooms and behind closed doors. The media has co-conspired with politics to make the game even nastier and filthier. With a drooling, insatiable media monster needing its hunger fed around the clock, 24/7/365, they look under every rock, dig up any kind of dirt, or smoke out any salacious detail that will get and keep viewer eyeballs.

Reporters are no longer journalists; too many fancy themselves as experts, pundits, even celebrities. They care more about ratings and personal publicity than reporting news. They write books, do promotional tours, and puff themselves up as self-important, fueled by the delusional and mistaken notion that their views matter more because they appear on radio or television.

Some believe they are the arbiters of values; they tell us what we should think and how we should behave. Reporting news is often a distant second to “editorializing” their personal viewpoints and political preferences. They use their bully pulpit to pontificate, condescend, and push their own self-serving agendas.

With the abduction of our airwaves, the polarization of politics, and the lack of visionary leadership, we are moving perilously close to a terminal prognosis. If we don’t perform radical surgery, or find an alternative treatment soon, the government will get too big and the media too powerful to be reigned in.

We need a national discussion that represents all views, all sides, all perspectives, and all people.

It’s time for a conversation of the people, by the people, for the people and with the people.

If there were ever a time for NEW, it’s NOW!

It’s time for transformation!

It’s time for…

New media.
New politics.
New leadership.

This is not a Democrat or Republican thing, not a liberal or conservative thing, nor a left or right wing thing.

It’s an American thing.

We pride ourselves on having the freedoms that guarantee life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Nothing is more sacred to a democracy than freedom of speech. Squelching civil discourse or limiting public debate to only two extreme positions moves us away from democracy and toward autocracy.

The only game with fewer than two choices is a game with ONE choice!

The ONE choice game is called communism, authoritarianism, or totalitarianism.

We need more, not fewer choices.

I’m optimistic that REAL POWER is shifting.

The Internet is fast becoming the great leveler, an equal opportunity game that evens the playing field. It’s a place for you to speak your mind, share your views and be heard. It’s a quantum leap in the direction of “we the people” taking back our power.

Americans are force-fed an either/or choice for president. What matters most to the two parties is whether our vote comes from a red state or a blue state. I’m not red, and I’m not blue.

America is not red or blue, black or white, left or right.

We are red and blue, black and white, left AND right.

We spend trillions of dollars every year to protect us against attack by other countries, outside forces and extremist groups who wish to divide us and even destroy us.

We must be equally vigilant that the freedoms that guarantee life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are never subverted or destroyed by forces from within.

It’s my fervent hope that before I cast the final vote of my lifetime, we will have more and better choices than the evil of two lessers.

We deserve more, not less.

Whoever is elected, one thing is crystal clear to me:

It’s time for a NEW Game… of Politics, of Media, of Leadership.

Mitch Axelrod
CEO (Chief Encouragement Officer), “The NEW Game”™

P.S. I invite you email us with ONE THING you feel would make the biggest difference in changing the game of media, politics and leadership.

EMAIL me here