Recently, I've read several statements that I find highly interesting and want to share.
I have also heard some good things, but it's safer to quote the written word unless one has a recorder.
An editorial column from The Dallas Morning News, reprinted in The Times of Gainesville, had a headline that attracted my attention: "The Fall's must-read political book."
Columnist William McKenzie declared the book to be "The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats into Americans" by Mickey Edwards.
He recommends that it be read by both die-hard partisans and people who think that neither party has a monopoly on truth.
Edwards, a former GOP Congressman, is now with the Aspen Institute in Washington. He believes that most candidates on a ballot are the choices of a party's dominant wing and that they offer a lack of options. And this, remember, in a nation where life is filled with options from soup to nuts and soaps to phones.
How to change such control and give voters more options? Edwards suggests an open primary, such as the one being initiated this year in California. Candidates from both/all parties compete in the same primary; the top two finishers, regardless of party affiliation, are headed to the general election. Political observers will be watching to see what happens.
But what about what happens in the Congress itself? How to transform Congressmen/women into government leaders, not just party leaders?
Edwards recommends two changes: Require that the Speaker of the House win at least 60 percent of the chamber's votes and have an equal number of members from each party on the House Rules Committee to prevent so much blockage of bills to be voted upon.
Those changes would demand that they listen to each other, occasionally compromise, act like Americans and not just partisans. The party leaders will never make them willingly. Do you think ordinary voters can press for such actions? How?
Another good idea came from my friend Joyce Jordan. She began with the fact that she depends upon making lists - as do I.
We both admit that our memory may have dimmed a bit with added years, but both she and I also admit that making lists was a habit when we were much younger.
Maybe my having to make lesson plans was an influence, and so is the multitasking that working mothers must do.
And we both realize that simply writing something down helps one to remember it.
Actually, I find that having a plan (or a list) allows me to react spontaneously to an unexpected deviation; if I know what I'm supposed to accomplish, I can often work a diversion into the general goal.
Joyce gives a word of caution, however, with which I also agree: Don't get so wrapped up with where we're going or what we're going to do that we can't appreciate living in the moment. That is important, too.
Helen Taylor's column appears periodically in the Dawson Community News.