The Great Minnesota Budget Shutdown: A leadership void
Here in Minnesota we are just hours away from a government shutdown. The two political parties are playing chicken with one another and it appears that the citizenry is about to lose. The night before the deadline, the two sides called it a night…and no new talks are scheduled. For those of us who have lived here for several decades we cannot understand how we got to this point. Before I moved here I always wondered what kinds of people could tolerate that awful climate and wondered whether there was actually civilization so far north. We have a saying. “It’s harder to get people to come to Minnesota than to get rid of them.”
What made this such a wonderful place despite the climate is the willingness of people to see a larger good and to work toward the benefit of the whole. At the end of the day people were willing to come together for the greater good. Perhaps it was part of the culture of the predominately Scandinavian culture, whatever it was, this was a great State. We had great government, schools, infrastructure, theater, etc.
Now each party espouses similar values, but the actions seem otherwise. We have moved from a government working philosophy of pragmatism to dogmatism. Each side has a worldview that they want to realize and in the process miss the value of the other. As a result of the two sides digging in, the real issues are not being tackled. If the amount of time people had to spend for the preparation of the shutdown could have been used on some real issues, more progress could have been made.
Unfortunately for the country, this is not singular to this state. A congressman who I have had the pleasure of working with noted that he was proud to serve in the institution in the past…but that the veil of civility has been withdrawn. It is no longer a place where people can easily work across the aisle. It has become a fight against the other party rather than accommodating differences for a better outcome.
Dogmatic vs. pragmatic. How did we get here? How do we get out of it? We citizens on the sidelines watch in fear as those responsible for the wellbeing of our institutions struggle an often senseless fight. Your thoughts are welcome.
Following the original published version, a reader suggested the following video which I found to be marvelous. It’s dated, yet current. http://www.linkedin.com/e/fw7pwr-gpjwwhay-2r/plh/http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DLbWCjQ5L0ZY/38NH/
June 30, 2011 Community leadership