The goal of any political party is to "win."
There is talk of strategy, raising money, ground games, and volunteer coordination to engage in a campaign that puts a candidate on the "winning" side and keeps them there. There is talk of messaging to appeal to the public. There are committees put in place to ensure that the opponents "lose."
It becomes very easy, with all of the emphasis on winning, to lose sight of the real goal, and that is to serve the public good.
Any elected official is supposed to serve the public good, regardless of whether that is local or federal office. To win the office, one must promise to serve the public good.
And yet, instead, there is the overarching emphasis on winning. Win the election. Win the vote for your bill. Win over your opponents. Win. Win. Win.
What a novel thought it must be to be elected and then, instead of focusing on winning, working with your fellow legislators, examining the actual issues and their causes, and working together in an open dialogue, paying attention to what your constituents want, and coming up with a sustainable solution that serves the public good over getting your ideology to win. Some may even call that a naive thought.
Let us consider, however, if we elected people who all thought that way. They will not be from the same party. They will have different perspectives and ideas. They will have the idea that they are to work for the public good, and recognize that the public good is not defined by just their personal views, but considers what the public are saying as well.
The goal of those people would be to have a government that functioned. They would fight and argue, but at the end of the day, they would come up with something that enacted real solutions that served the public good.
You might be tired of seeing "serve the public good" by now.
That's too bad, because that's the goal.
We have people in Congress right now that, after 6 years of people calling for better federal action to address gun violence, can only commit to think about talking about the issue.
We have people in Congress who, after 6 years of the people demanding a better healthcare system, can only think about going backwards with it.
We have people in Congress who, despite decades of people calling for an end to the influence of money in our political system, refuse to reform how we conduct campaigns.
Actual action on any of these, and literally hundreds of other issues, could amount to them "losing," and that doesn't serve the "winning" goal.
We, the people, can change that. Our goals are to have the public served by government. Our goals are for actual, sustainable solutions to the issues that have plagued us for over a century. If we demand better candidates, support new faces getting involved, and vote for them instead of clinging to someone whose only real goal is "winning," we can make that change.
We can demand universal healthcare, recognizing that it will reduce costs in the long run, provide economic stimulus and security, combat poverty, and increase equality in our society.
We can demand sensible federal regulation of weapons and ammunition that encourages responsible and safe gun ownership and use, recognizing that while we have our rights, we need to be responsible about them and be accountable at the same time.
We can demand that we have a robust education system that serves from early childhood to late adulthood. We know that will lead to innovation, high production, equality, a growing cultural appreciation, encourage the arts, and allow everyone the opportunities to live a prosperous and fulfilling life.
We can demand that our role in the world is to serve as an example of the best democratic principles, to inspire those in other countries, and to be a leader that works towards peace in the world through diplomacy before military might.
We can demand that we work with our environment and ecology, rather than tearing it apart or abusing it, in order to encourage long, fulfilling, and prosperous lives, as well as preserve our planet as our home for future generations farther than we can think of.
All of these are working for the public good.
The people's goals are to serve the public good.