This week I was at several congressional committee hearings on immigration, social security solvency, net neutrality and cyber security. These are all complex and difficult issues to grapple with so a swift resolution to them wasn’t to be expected.
Debate and disagreements on issues are both common and necessary in a representative government. But in too many instances this week the old partisan refrains were echoed in such a full throttled manner that it left me wondering if there is any chance for an agreeable resolution to these issues. If politics is the art of the possible, as Bismark said in 1867, I am wondering if the art is somehow now lost.
For example, the nation is hours away from a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) because Congress has tied up the agency’s funding bill over a bitter disagreement on immigration policy and the president’s immigration executive order. Only the very disagreeable prospect of the country’s main agency against terrorism closing is going to compel a resolution. Yet almost everyone saw this moment coming when the House attached those riders to the DHS funding bill. Does our immigration system need reform? Most say yes. Was attaching riders to the DHS funding bill the way to do that? Hardly. But it happened anyway.
As the debates this week began to, in some cases, border on the surreal, I was thinking “are we doomed?” Then I remembered one of the themes we are embracing at Goodwill®—disruption, positive disruption. The idea that we should challenge established routines and assumptions and how Goodwill has done that all throughout its 100+ year history. Maybe that’s a role now too, for Goodwill to play in Washington, disrupting the extreme partisanship by promoting solutions to some of these complex issues that impact our mission and our nation.
Almost every Hill staffer and elected official has a positive image of Goodwill and maybe it’s time to leverage that positive image for the collective good. To do that we’ll need to be able to call on you from time to time to commit a couple minutes to take action. So c’mon, join the Goodwill Legislative Action Center if you haven’t already and let’s create a little positive disruption together.