The dysfunction and gridlock we see in federal and state governments across the country are a reflection of the culture of professional politicians who are, for the most part, attorneys by background. I might be wrong that they would be the first to admit it, but attorneys (who become politicians) are by nature aggressive, smart, cunning, and willing to push the limits of the rule of law, norms and ethics to win their case (or election).
Their bread-and-butter tactic is the plea bargain, as opposed to the jury trial where there is at least some open discussion by an impartial jury of citizens. Attorneys know that in the plea bargaining process, leverage is everything and you build leverage by saying “no,” and being stubborn and relentless in your demands until the very last moment and settling for the best financial outcome one can achieve. This, unfortunately, leaves little room for so-called bipartisanship, dialogue, listening, real consideration of the opposing parties viewpoint, collaboration, and certainly not empathy. Attorneys don’t cry.
The culture of politics and its dysfunction and gridlock disserves the American people. Politicians need to leave their stubborn and aggressive tactics at home with their private practice. If they are elected to office and in spite of what their party may say, they need to bring their bipartisan A-game to Washington in better service to our democracy.
We the American people deserve nothing less. — sp