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Local view: It’s time to focus on ‘we the people’

Are you tired of partisan politics? Is there not equal blame for Republicans and Democrats for our present government dysfunction? Are the shortcomings of both parties not about equal? Genuine debate, compromise and negotiation seem like lost arts; weren’t they guiding principles of the Founding Fathers?

I also seem to remember a reference to “we the people.” How about that as a name for a new party? The We the People Party would be devoid of politics as usual and return power to the people, to those of us who work, pay taxes and are not beholden to special interests other than the “general welfare of the people.” And by “welfare” I don’t mean ever-expanding entitlement programs but rather aiding those genuinely in need while incenting and cultivating the human spirit to better itself, to provide for families, communities and country.

Money is too entwined in our present politics. Special interests and lobbyists are too powerful and pervasive. Common sense has been lost in power, politics, manipulation and spin. How can we once again unleash that indomitable human spirit and pride, aka philosopher Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand metaphor, the tools that made America the land of opportunity?

Present politics talks a good game, but where is the delivery of the goods — unless you are on the entitlement list?

We must not let rhetoric trump reality. What are the actual facts? Are not facts a better basis for decision-making than sound bites and personal attacks?

What might a We the People Party platform look like? It would include self-reliance, responsibility, consequences, earned entitlements without enabling or creating dependencies, and local governance. Aren’t decisions made locally more meaningful and relevant? Essentially, the platform would reflect common sense, recognizing that with rights come responsibilities.

No longer would debates be based on extremes. Rather, representation would be by a moderate middle, aka the silent majority, where discord no longer would be divisive. Irreproachable lines would not be drawn in the sand. And civility, the ability to disagree without being disagreeable, would reign paramount.

Money would be limited and subject to full transparency, allowing Americans to “follow the money” to see who is doing what, whether individuals, political action committees, unions, special-interest groups or others.

Is it not tragic that self-interest trumps virtually all other values?

Rotary International promotes “service above self.” Wouldn’t that be refreshing to see among our politicians? (Note: we do have at least one here in Duluth in Mayor Don Ness.)

Leadership must emerge. President Barack Obama is an effective speaker but essentially an empty suit. President George W. Bush was likewise largely ineffectual. President Bill Clinton had his moments (enough said). Who will step up in 2016? Who might a We the People Party select?

Tom Wheeler is a longtime Duluth-area businessman, civic leader, philanthropist and regular contributor to the News Tribune Opinion page.