Opposites Attract? Not in Today’s America

The Wisconsin Recall is expected to generate one of the highest voter turnouts in recent memory, yet the gap between Left and Right on the political spectrum has doubled since 1987.  Joe Costello comes on the show today to discuss his new book Of By For: The New Politics of Money, Debt, and Democracy to discuss how the extreme partisanship of American politics, interwoven with the influence of money, has derailed the Grand Experiment that America was launched under.

The book begins with a quote: “We do not need a revolution in America, we need a reformation,” that Costello explains is meant to highlight that our system has simply gone off the tracks.  We don’t need a revolution, defined by overthrow of government and violence, but rather we need true, honest reform that reworks our system of self-governance and refocuses it with an eye toward engagement and growth.

A growing problem is with the disenfranchisement of American citizens, where our decision-making abilities as a voting citizenry are being limited by a distorted culture of governance that is defined by extreme partisanship that shuts down our ability to meet and talk on policy.

“The first thing we need to work on is more education and general awareness; we won’t have a reform of the banking system, for example until we know how it works,” Costello explained. “The second step is talking to each other.  We don’t talk to each other politically anymore; we don’t have the dialogue to do that.”

A lot of people would agree with this assertion.  We are the heroes of our own stories after all; how can we parlay this awareness into action that will bring about concrete results and change that can unleash our system from these limitations?

“Go after these problems that we have together.  Let’s say banking: let’s not talk liberal or conservative, or Democrat or Republican, let’s talk about banking.  How are we going to change this?  How are we going to start changing the way banking and the money system is utilized in our country?” Costello posited.

It is trite to continue with the path we are currently on: I like Romney.  Well, I like Obama. And we maintain the status quo.  There has to be an understanding with people that, before now, we have have to band together in an effort to change issues of substance.  The really large forces of our nation that make us feel powerless seem overwhelming until we learn to work together and congregate around these common grievances.

“It’s been about people getting together, from the Revolution all the way to civil rights.  Our political system is set up in a way now that is meant to divide us.”

In a period of increasing polarization, it is increasingly clear that our system of politics, media coverage, and electoral processes have driven us apart, while issues that are pressing for the growth and progress of our nation are allowed to go by the wayside.  We need to start adhering to magnetic principle soon before our system collapses entirely, and let our differences bring us together, before our bickering defines the end of the Grand Experiment.

The full interview is here:

Joe Costello is author of Of, For, By: The New Politics of Money, Debt, and Democracy.  Follow him on Twitter for more information.