Dueling views OK; actual duels are not

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View from the Middle

The recent party caucuses marked the beginning of the political season, which has its World Series in November. This may not be as exciting to most of us as opening day at Coors Field, but the first pitch has been thrown out for the political season.
Sans some national emergency, we citizens line up on one side or the other, and we become defined by our parties and support their candidates. Our country is pretty divided politically. The bitterness and decisiveness is not new; it just gets more air time. Remember that in 1804, Aaron Burr, a sitting Republican vice president, shot and killed his political foe, Federalist Alexander Hamilton. Hopefully we’ll not see anymore duels.
There are two predominant political views. One view is the Republican view that less government is best. This view holds that progress comes from our capitalist system and that the least encumbered we are with laws and rules, the more people are empowered to create successful enterprises that power the economy and create prosperity.
The Democrats see abuses when the market is totally free from laws and regulations. They see the need for government to act as a referee to ensure fairness. As such, Democrats aren’t anti-business, but they do see a larger role for state and federal governments.
This is an overly simplistic description and, of course, there are many variations, but the point is that we all see things from one of these two perspectives. Haven’t you noticed that despite lots of back-and-forth debating, no one ever changes their political outlook?
So here’s my hope and wish as we move into a new political season: Let’s Remember that we all have a right to hold a view of which political philosophy to support. Millions have died to ensure that right. Our political philosophy doesn’t determine whether we are good or bad people. Character is not defined by our political philosophy; rather, it’s our actions that speak about who we really are. My two sons have dramatically different political beliefs, both different than mine. They are great young men, and I love them both despite our political differences.
Only the naive believe that candidates for high office are not motivated by patriotism. Republicans believe fervently that their philosophy will be more successful, and Democrats have the exact same view about their philosophy.
I would never choose one of these philosophies for you — that would be ridiculous. I would propose an acid test for you to use as you enter the political season. Figuring out what the focus should be must precede developing solutions. So I recommend you choose those candidates who you believe are focused on solving the country’s problems and who have a record of personal success. The solutions will follow.

Jim Rohrer of Evergreen is a business consultant and author of the bi-books “Improve Your Bottom Line … Develop MVPs Today” and “Never Lose Your Job … Become a More Valuable Player.” Jim’s belief is that common sense is becoming less common. (More about Jim at www.theloyaltypartners.com.)