From An Anonymous Resident Of Montgomery County, Maryland.
I thought it would be fun comparing two styles of leadership and relate it to conservatism and progressiveness (liberalism). These two styles are pragmatism and its antonym, impracticality.
The dictionary definition of pragmatism is: practical, matter of fact, realistic, sensible, down to earth, businesslike, and rational. A further definition of a pragmatic person is one who deals with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based upon practical experience, rather than theoretical hypothesizing.
Someone with a pragmatic approach to politics is a person with common sense who knows how to get things done. This person’s mentality and outlook on life emphasizes practical consequences in the determination of meaning, truth, or value.
The antonym of pragmatic is impractical. Its dictionary definition is: unsuitable, not sensible, inappropriate, unserviceable, unworkable, unfeasible, impractical, and nonviable. Sometimes academia fits into this category. So, let’s ask ourselves a question: On a national level, how much has our House of Representatives and Senate accomplished in the last 12 years? How much have they accomplished in the last four years? Each side masterfully plays the blame game, but if you really examine the pork that many of these bills contain, it makes them impractical.
It’s a sad commentary on society that many politicians have no business experience. Successful business owners are generally pragmatic. They are able to solve complex problems in a cost-effective manner; prioritize schedules to identify, isolate and solve problems; and enlist teams, staff, and employees who complement and bring value to the job.
The choices for the business owner are to solve the problem in a cost-effective manner or face bankruptcy. Politicians and community activists do not face the same consequences.
They are using money they did not earn, and they consequently spend it as if they had a limitless supply. The results of their choices in solving problems do not have the same consequences as that of a business owner. Thus, many of the decisions they make tend to be impractical, unreasonable, unworkable, and unfeasible.
Let’s look at several local Montgomery County, Maryland examples.
Montgomery County has horrific traffic congestion. Rush-hour in Montgomery County is a nightmare. A pragmatic approach to the problem would be to widen the roads to accommodate traffic. Instead, our County Council, led by the Takoma Park delegation, invest money into bike lanes and sidewalks. They further push mass transit, car pooling, and toll lanes.
The problem with our naïve Takoma Park representatives’ liberal, impractical approach is that they dance around the problem and avoid pragmatic and real solutions.
The question is: are these politicians prioritizing changing our behavior, or are they focused on solving a real-world problem? Part of the problem with impractical decision making is these liberal politicians tend to legislate and design laws focused to the lowest common denominator. They also play to the crisis of the moment. If one person is killed in a police shooting then our county writes a law directed at racial disparities and equity. It’s difficult for me (and countless others) to understand how this issue can be equated with a public health crisis.
Montgomery County has a budget crisis and a shortfall of revenue. When my budget faces turbulence I adjust my spending and cut extravagance. I don’t spend money I don’t have. Solving budget problems by raising taxes only kicks the problem down the road and does not systemically solve the budget crisis. Our Takoma Park delegation of Councilpersons approach our budget crisis using illogical and non-sensible solutions, that if used by a business, would drive them into bankruptcy.
We are witnessing the same lowest common denominator approach used in manufacturing rules and laws governing COVID-19. There are many inconsistencies and inequalities used in applying rules and regulations to manage the virus. The closure of schools and regulations on churches, combined with closure of targeted businesses, are not based on a pragmatic problem-solving approach, but rather on partisan politics based upon illogical and impractical decisions. One can see the bias when riots are allowed to take place but worshipers are not allowed to meet. One has only to compare the numbers of COVID-19 deaths to persons dying from the flu to see the disproportionate logic applied to this problem.
Don’t misunderstand me; I admit we have a problem, but the politicians addressing the crisis are not acting or governing in a pragmatic manner to address the issue.
One can look to Takoma Park, from which most of our County Council live, to see the impractical approach to problem solving taken with politics. Does their nuclear free zone prevent foreign countries from launching a nuclear attack? Does banning lawn mowers and leaf blowers solve the alleged climate change problem? Does the bag tax improve the Chesapeake Bay? Does a $15 per hour minimum wage eliminate poverty? Does providing free health care and rent subsidies to illegals solve our immigration problems? Does limiting the sale of firearms to one per month reduce the murder rate? Does taking firearms from law abiding citizens and taxing ammunition reduce gun violence? Does a ban on petting zoos and circuses make animals safer?
So, how do you prefer your elected officials to base their decision? In pragmatism or in impractical decisions?
It’s your vote that decides.