Who do you think bears the most responsibility for the government shutdown?
16% - Republican Party
18% - House Republicans
18%- President Obama
49% - Obama and Senate Democrats
In our recent poll question, we asked our small business audience this question: “Who do you think bears the most responsibility for the government shutdown?” Two-thirds of our respondents blame the president and his party, while the rest blame Republicans. It’s interesting that national polls of the general population put more of the blame on Republicans.
But here’s what I think: It doesn’t matter–they’re all to blame. Washington is not just broken, it’s rotten. Even the good guys, regardless of which side of the aisle they’re on, can’t find a way to make a difference by demonstrating leadership.
Once upon a time, a great American president invoked this notion regarding the relationship between the government and the governed, “… of the people, by the people, for the people.” A century and a half later, the political class has inverted this beautiful tenet into what is surely the ugliest form of narcissism ever observed in a democracy: of the small minded, by the petulant, for the ideology. And every day they pursue this agenda without any sense of shame.
In a conversation with Steve Forbes this year, I asked him what it will take to get America back on track. He said, “It will have to come from the grassroots.” Indeed. As I’ve said in this space before, Main Street, especially the small business sector, has to band together to take back America from the political class in Washington, to protect ourselves from the digital greed of Wall Street, and demand honest reporting from what has become the most corrupt media in the history of America.
When I say “band together,” it’s not as big a challenge as you might think. In the 2012 presidential election, approximately 126 million votes were cast for the two major parties. If you add up all of the owners and employees of small businesses in the U.S., that number would be approximately 100 million. I’m not saying anyone should change parties. But couldn’t the small business sector agree on this one thing: Demand the government run its business the way we have to run ours. The application of that demand on presidential candidates and members of Congress would go a long way toward ridding America of the embarrassing and destructive Kabuki theatre we’ve been watching for way too long.
Small business owners, let’s take back America! And our model is Main Street, where honesty, transparency and integrity are the coins of the realm.
If we don’t, I fear it won’t happen.