Friday, August 30, 2013

Got a recipe for Gridlock? Do Share!

Of all the speeches from the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, it was Bill Clinton's statement about political gridlock that has stuck with me:

And I would respectfully suggest that Martin Luther King did not live and die to hear his heirs whine about political gridlock. It is time to stop complaining and put our shoulders against the stubborn gates holding the American people back.

So what's the best strategy for reducing gridlock? Is it, as Clinton suggests, at matter of pushing harder? I'm not convinced.

But what should we do? This got me thinking: maybe we should do the opposite of whatever causes gridlock. Which naturally brings up the question, how do you create gridlock? That seems like an easier question to answer than how would you reduce it.

If you've got gridlock generating ideas, I'd love to have you share them in the comments. Here's what I've come up with as a quick and easy way to manufacture a political stalemate:

  1. Divide issues up into two, maybe three specific positions. You're either Pro-Life or Pro-Choice, you can't be anything in between.
  2. Demonize each position. "Republicans hate people of color", "Democrats hate rich people", that sort of thing.

Seems like those two steps would back people into a corner, where they'd vehemently fight for their cause. Eventually, they'd choose to get nothing done over allowing the other side "win." Hence, gridlock.

Now it's your turn.

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