Politician Report Card?

“Plays well with others” ranked high in importance for me as I marked report cards and for the parents who received them when I taught kindergarten. I’ve been looking for politicians during this mad election season who would have received a “U” (usually) or even an “S” (sometimes). Unfortunately, what I have seen most of the time would have had me marking an “N” (never).

“Legislative ‘odd couple’ forms bond,” a recent inside page headline in The Hattiesburg American, via The Clarion-Ledger, brought me up short. It seems that first-termers Joel Bomgar, described as conservative Republican, and Kabir Karriem, described as liberal Democrat have formed a bond over the need to reform the criminal justice system and end mass incarceration. The article goes on to talk about how they are seriously working together on this crucial issue. It recounts their efforts to get out into communities this summer to communicate what can be done and to draft legislation together in the fall.

Who knew that legislators could still work together to accomplish good for our state or nation? That is so rare that I would have moved the headline to the front page! As a self-labeled independent voter, I have been searching, without much success, for those who learned the lesson of “playing well with others” in kindergarten. At the moment, neither of these Mississippi legislators is in my district, so I can’t even vote for them if they run for reelection. However, who knows what the future holds? I’ve made myself a note that they are willing to talk across the aisle for the common good so I don’t forget in case either of them ever seeks a statewide office.

I’ve avoided the political fray for the most part in my blog. I have friends from one end of the political spectrum to the other, and I can’t buy into the current attitude that those who disagree with me are evil nor work myself into hatred, even for the politicians who behave more like spoiled brats than like statesmen. I continue my search, which has been about as successful as Diogenes search for an honest man, for those who can get beyond their labels and work together to solve the problems in our society. I am grateful for this small light in a very dark tunnel.