The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll dated August 4th indicates that 74% of those surveyed feel that Congress is unproductive while the President’s approval rating has dropped to a low of 40%. These responses and the responses to numerous other polls reflect that a clear majority of the American citizenry has lost faith in a White house and Congress that are mired in irreconcilable differences regarding immigration, a decaying infrastructure, the Internal Revenue Service and Veterans Administration scandals, a widening economic gap between the very rich 1% and everyone else, the costs associated with a growing number of devastating natural disasters, the wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East, Russian aggression in Ukraine, and outbreaks of contagious diseases such as Ebola, to name a few. Against this backdrop of global upheaval, the President and Congress decided to go on vacation. While today’s technology allows politicians to stay informed and connected, it can’t replace open debate and face-to-face discussion regarding the many issues that face the world today. As American citizens, we must demand more from our elected representative. Sometimes vacations need to be cancelled to show Americans and the world that we are open for business; that we understand the urgency and gravity of the issues of the day.
Internally, to be productive, Republicans need to stop being the “Party of No,” and work with the President to hammer out bipartisan agreements. The Democrats need to stop trying to create a federally funded program for every problem in our country. As former President, Theodore Roosevelt once said, “The first requisite of a good citizen in this Republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his own weight.” As global issues continue to mount, we cannot wait to the next election for our politicians to start acting like they understand the implication for America and the world if we continue to do nothing in order to gain some partisan advantage in a political campaign.
Paul Okum has 40 years’ experience with the Federal Government in the Departments of Transportation, Interior, Army, and Defense in leadership positions, including being a US Army officer and a director of a human resources office in the Department of Defense. Okum has written “Leadership DNA,” a guide book about identifying, selecting, and developing natural born leaders. The book also explains how to deal with poor performing leaders before they cripple an organization.
For more information about Paul Okum and “Leadership DNA,” visit