195 Ramapo Valley Road, Oakland, NJ 07436 (by appointment)
Michael C. Rudolph, Esq. P.A.
A NON-POLITICAL VIEW OF POLITICS
I have kept the promise I made to myself not to use my monthly personal message to promote partisan politics. I have something to say now that transcends political ideology.
Politicians running for public office these days have no sense of reality. They create a platform and make sweeping promises to their voter base, promising to achieve impossible goals, just to get elected. They tell us where they will take us but neglect to say how we will get there - - or how much the voyage will cost. Who in his or her right mind would sign up to take a trip knowing the destination but not the method of transportation or the cost of the ticket?
I get that candidates must have a platform and a vision and a hope that these will appeal to enough of the people to get elected. And I get that, once elected, officeholders have a right, and a duty, to try to follow through on their campaign promises. There comes a point, however, when reality sets in, and it becomes clear that there simply are not enough votes to pass your well-intentioned legislation. It might be because the opposition party outvotes you. It might be because you cannot convince enough members of your own party. Or it might be a combination of both. It might also be that, if candidates made realistic promises, they would not feel they have to press forward even when it is obvious that the goal in unachievable.
When I was a teen-ager and first became aware how government operates, it was clear that when there was an impasse, political opponents got together, sometimes in a smoke-filled back room, and hammered out a compromise. No one got everything, but both sides got something. It wasn’t just about “winning.” It was about benefitting the public.
News used to be dispensed only by newspapers and radio, then by television. In today’s era of sound bytes, text messages, internet access and Tweets, by the time an article appears in print or is seen on television or heard on the radio, it’s old news. The pace can be dizzying. No one can deny that having a free press is a cornerstone of our society, even if they sometimes are overzealous, or ask “gotcha” questions, or jump to conclusions in order to be the first to break a story or show an obvious bias for or against one political party or the other. When politicians break their promises, or engage in unacceptable rhetoric, or take positions to stymie progress out of pure spite, it is reported in the news media, and the public is exposed to the sordid workings of government, often not knowing which version of the “truth” to believe. Anyone who is aware of what has been going on in government knows that both major political parties are guilty to one extent or another. I will not enumerate with examples because by doing so, I will undoubtedly offend someone, or everyone, and you all know what I am talking about.
I don’t have the answer to our unsettled state of affairs. I would like to hear, just once, a candidate say something like: “Here is my vision for the future. It cannot be accomplished on day one, or in a month or even a year. But we have to begin someplace. I can’t promise I will be able to accomplish everything. I do promise, however, that I will work as hard as I can, and if compromises are necessary to get things going, I’m ready to engage in discussions. Progress takes time. We just have to take that first step. Neil Armstrong said it best immediately after becoming the first person to land on the moon: ‘That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.’”
Am I naive to wish for this? I think “hopefully optimistic” is a better term. It’s time for our elected officials to stop spinning their wheels, cut out the backbiting and move the country forward. Let them find some common ground and get traction into the government. Draining the swamp is a great objective. It won’t mean a thing unless an infrastructure is put in place to prevent the backwash from flowing in again.
Don't forget the articles that appear below. I hope you will read, enjoy and learn from them.
PLEASE NOTE: As of January 1, 2017, our office hours have changed. We Are Open Monday-Thursday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:30 P.m. Closed on Fridays and Court Holidays.
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