I’m a fan of blind politics. In fact, having a “blind” system has shown itself to be one of the easiest ways to combat system wide discrimination. In Munich, the practice of blind auditions was incorporated into the Munich Philharmonic, considered one of the most elite orchestras in history, in order to prove that nepotism didn’t exist. Once the screens went up, decisions stopped revolving around the “look” of a person, and focused in on sound. The result, as Malcolm Gladwell discusses in his book Blink, is that the orchestras began to hire women, and other players of a non-pedigree nature. Now we have a saying in the U.S. that justice is blind, except anyone that looking can notice a significant difference in prosecution results and average sentencing periods. One of the problems is that in the U.S. there is a confrontation clause and so it is unlikely that court cases will even be behind the screen.
So what about politics? What would happen if the authors of bills weren’t put forth so you voted on an idea and the plan rather than party lines? There are probably too many reasons why this would never work, but the concept that we would vote on policies not because of the party that represents it, but because of how it could impact lives. We become blinded to history, to showing similarities between what we consider as opposing forces; such as Republican and Democrat. The same policy could come back a few decade later and parties will object it based on who is presenting the case. Raise the debt ceiling? Outrageous! At least according to Democrats in Reagan’s day, and Republicans in Obama’s. Create, protect, and manage nature, parks, and untouched land and perpetuate a sustainable place for our children and their children? Absolutely according to Teddy Roosevelt and his conservatives, but how would that hold up today in today’s Republican budget?
We can be so quick to discount an idea because of where, or who, it is coming from. Tolerance and progress hinge on the openness of discussion and the ability to brainstorm ideas. Respect has to be involved. And maybe that’s what we’re really missing; cultural competency and the ability to hear out beliefs in a decent way without alienating others. It is alright to disagree, it is not alright to have a whole system shut down because of stubbornness to cooperate. If we could alleviate some of the “us vs. them” mentality, a good idea might just get some mileage. Come on D.C., get your blindfolds on.
“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” – John F. Kennedy
By: Courtney Kidd, LMSW
SJS Staff Writer