Sitting at a red light while driving to work recently, I noticed a bumper sticker on the back of the Chevy Suburban stopped in front of me. Featuring a photo of President Obama, it said “Does this *** Make My Car Look Fat?”
For me this sticker perfectly encapsulates the state of political discourse in America, circa 2014: partisan, petty, confrontational—need I continue? I don’t want to stir the political pot in a business-related blog, but it does makes you wonder: Will the citizens that form the centrist majority of our nation ever have their Peter Finch “I’m as Mad as Hell” Network moment and demand better from our leaders and ourselves?
According to retired U.S.
Senator Joe Lieberman, that’s exactly what it’s going to take to turn the ship of state toward calmer and more productive waters:
“It requires political people with the guts to be leaders and be able to say to their constituents ‘We’ve got this tough stuff to do to get our federal government back in balance’…and people have to demand that their members of Congress put the country first, not their parties or ideologies.”
This quote is from a four-part interview I did with the senator during a recent event, the SAP
Federal Forum: Conversations on the Future of Government. I was privileged to have the opportunity to ask his opinions on how to fix Congress, whether he’s optimistic about America’s future, how we can inspire our best and brightest millennial minds to choose careers in public service, and, of course, whether he is still bothered by the outcome of the contested 2000 Bush-Gore presidential election, when Senator Lieberman was Al Gore’s Vice Presidential running mate.
I came away from our conversation with a greater appreciation of the senator’s humanity, his frustration at the gridlock in Congress, and his faith in the youth and future of America. I could not help but feel that our government and our nation would be well served if our next generation of leaders is inspired by the words and deeds of Joe Lieberman the way a youthful Lieberman, as he mentions in the interview, was inspired to a career in public service by the inaugural address
of John F. Kennedy.