We visited Congressman Amash of Michigan’s 3rd District today. It proved to be a progressively frank exchange which I found particularly educational.
Our FPC, Terry Westbrook organized the meeting and took the lead in asking questions – directing the discussion around the talking points provided by the National Association of REALTORS®.
Eventually, a freewheeling discussion about the PROCESS by which Congress gets things done became the focus of an extended Q&A.
While REALTORS® and other advocacy organizations tend to focus much of their time, energy, and money into policy creation, Amash indicated that it is the PROCESS that really matters. Unfortunately, the process is currently so broken and polarizing, it is virtually impossible to get any debates which would result in a recorded vote on to the floor.
Amash patiently explained the nature of power in politics especially as it is expressed today and provided insights about where power actually rests in the Congress. Today, power is concentrated and is mostly not in the hands of the elected representatives. Power is wielded by a handful of powerful leaders, and this control has been paralyzing to effective governance.
Which begs the question, why have lobbyists? Amash suggested that advocacy organizations would be more effective if they placed their leverage at the national level on obtaining a higher degree of engagement with the power centers.
Amash is certainly not a ‘traditional politician,’ but I found him to be frank, unassuming, and refreshingly honest. I also learned a lot. They say that sausage making is not pretty. That observation is definitely applicable to both sausage making and politics.
Today’s meeting has challenged many of my previous assumptions and provides a clearer lens for the formation of opinions and engagement. We owe it to ourselves to do a better job of ensuring that our political systems function. It starts with real education.