Watching the Vikings win Sunday night made me realize that our political process has transformed itself into an athletic contest. Our parties have adopted an attitude of “win at all costs” and “If you’re not with us on everything, you are against us”. I am reminded of sailboat racing where the designer will make a boat go one knot slower because that will make the handicap two knots slower thus winning on corrected time. It’s called “designing to the rule”, and it’s exactly what our politicians have become very good at.
It’s common knowledge that our representatives vote on measures they haven’t read and many couldn’t understand if they did read. We have become so obsessed with “winning” and “losing” that we have forgotten that synergy in interactions can lead to gains for both parties. We are told that business transactions have winners and losers. In my experience deals don’t get done when there are losers. If you are going to lose on a transaction you walk away from it prior to it being done. Both parties have adopted divide and conquer strategies, when what we really need is a unite and prosper strategy.