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Published: Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012 10:57 a.m. CDT

In my opinion, party politics are destroying the potential of reasonable, practical policy-making for our state and federal governments.

I think most voting Americans want our economic, educational and social systems to work effectively and efficiently in the real world. And, from my experience, to work in the real world, a policy requires the balancing of several perspectives and values.

As I study the values and agendas of both parties, I am convinced each must be considered and integrated into the policy-making process and final outcome.

For instance, Democrats are often sympathetic to the work force and labor unions while Republicans tend to support business management and ownership.

I believe most voting Americans realize both employees and employers must be valued in order for the business or organization to be successful. But why can’t the parties admit to this?

Another example—more emotional for sure—Democrats want the pregnant mother to have full consideration yet the Republicans want the unborn child to have equal human rights. Isn’t it true both mother and child should be valued? How can this critical issue be argued from just one side?

So, here’s my point. Reasonable, practical policy-making requires critical thinking. Critical thinking does not just consider one perspective. Instead, critical thinking is open-minded and humble; critical thinking finds the relationships between multiple factors. Then, from this process, the solution is comprehensive, balanced and fair.

Unfortunately, critical thinking is not the predominant leadership method in our political environment today. Instead of practicing compromise, parties are bull-headed. Instead of practicing mutual respect, parties tell lies and smear each other.

So, my question is, “How much longer is the American public going to enable this behavior?”

As we teach Character Counts in public schools and Christian values in youth groups, how can we also allow this “adult” behavior to continue?

Is this leadership? Seriously?

Respectfully,

Ruth Smith

Independent Candidate for Iowa House

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