Two highly regarded political observers published opinion pieces in June 2014 in the Wall Street Journal supporting the assessment that our government was broken. The articles were by William A. Galston, senior fellow of the Brookings Institution and former domestic policy adviser in the Clinton White House, and the late Francis Fukuyama, an author, senior fellow at the Freeman Spongli Institute for International Studies, and member of numerous boards for influential international groups. Here’s some of what they had to say:
“Amid this welter of statistics, one thing is clear: The U.S. government has become dysfunctional, and there is shared responsibility to fix it. Leaders must behave differently, which will not happen unless the people insist on a different kind of governance.” – Galston
“Proponents of democracy focus . . . on limiting the power of tyrannical or predatory states. But they don’t spend as much time thinking about how to govern effectively . . . . Americans, more than other people, often fail to understand the need for effective government, focusing instead on the constraint of authority.” – Fukuyama
Little has changed since those thoughts were printed in 2014; the need for remedial action has only increased in the intervening years.
A reform effort should address these concerns and should be non-partisan to appeal across the political spectrum to people of all persuasions. It should bring the left and right together for the common good.
We all want improved results from our government. We all want to leave our children and future generations a strong, vibrant democratic republic that is an effective problem-solver.
To make the reforms robust and lasting, we should present them in constitutional amendments for ratification by the states. Statutory changes will not generally do the job, as they are subject to reversal with every change in administrations. A well-crafted set of reforms will give us a solid foundation on which we can face the future with confidence, regaining our former position as the preeminent beacon of freedom throughout the world.