Joe Scarborough, a former Republican Member of Congress, and a popular political commentator on MSNBC, announced this past week that he is leaving the Republican Party to register as an Independent. Not many insiders are surprised about this.
Conservatives will lash out at him as a closet democrat, self-promoting and narcissistic, and party democrats will point in glee and applaud too much about a turning tide to reject the republican party as blind and hateful. But, we should pause before going there. What he has come through is a process over a series of years, as he has watched politics go from consensus and common purpose to win-or-lose power and party above all else. This has led him to realize that staying in that party pack was damaging -- to his own beliefs, and as he describes, to the greater good of the democratic process. This transition is not unique to Republicans.
On the side of democrats, we have seen similar explosions of division around priority and inclusiveness (or lack thereof) from diverse constituencies vying for a voice in the leadership. To maintain "party unity" (a/k/a power), many democrats have been left out and behind in the push for a "winning" agenda more focused on donors and winning elections than kitchen table priorities. Some of those democrats went on to vote for Trump, but most of them went into the growing independence movement as supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders. Today they are trying to change the party as "justice democrats" and emerging millennials stepping up to run for office -- to challenge the hierarchy of the established political elite.
In my view, this metamorphosis is very, very good. I hope Republicans get started on their break-out, too. Hurry up please...
Our focus as a people needs to be on the protection and empowerment of democracy for all. This is not a top down process but a people first process. And, from the crazy mix-mash of polls on this topic or that topic, we can see that there is not one opinion, but many. And the views of the majority of the people are not represented well by the stark positions held by the Senators, Representatives, and President we have in our government today.
So this means the question comes back to YOU, and ME, and WE the people and how we want to live our lives in peace, compassion, community and common purpose -- toward a more just, sustainable and abundant future for our selves, our family, our world and our planet. We need to have more of these across-the-divide conversations in our communities.
So don't lash out at Joe, or Bernie, or Hillary, or (yes I am going there) even President Trump for the role they are playing in this chaotic shift from oligarchic, national government direction to a locally-defined, yet nationally and globally connected, human approach to politics.
The crazy thing is, after seeing all of this, and being part of a growing movement of democracy activism, I kind of believe that if the election had been between Trump and Sanders, Sanders would have won. I am not sure if that would have been bad or good, but it comforts me to feel confident that this is who we are as Americans.
We really do love each other, in all our differences. We just have had it beaten into us that we have to compete and dominate others in order to be strong and successful. We forget we are all of the same source.
Let's don't sell out our values, our compassion, our unity for the division on sale by our political institutions. We need to take down walls, throw open doors, go into the community and find out what we know is true -- we share the same hopes and dreams.
So, I land on the same conclusion, let's join together to find our purpose -- individual and collective -- to tip the scales of evolution away from destruction and toward resilience, regeneration and a more perfect union.