I had a “Jerry Maguire” moment. It wasn’t exactly a “Fewer clients. Less money,” moment (I’m a self-professed capitalist so I’ll always take more clients and more money), but definitely an epiphany. Traveling from San Diego back to Seattle after engaging with some high-profile organizations on a Veterans border to border initiative, I started scribbling on that little airplane cocktail napkin why America really needed to be party agnostic. It was my Jerry Maguire moment.
For those of you not familiar with the movie, Jerry Maguire is a fictional sports agent who “wakes up” to the idea that he should be more caring about the game, and the players, and his own life. So, he pens this manifesto called The Things We Think and Do Not Say (Fewer clients. Less money), prints a 100-plus copies and shares it with all the agents in his company. They applaud him — and he gets fired.
As I was writing furiously on this napkin at 35,000 feet, sweat beading down my face, I knew at that moment that if I ever shared my thoughts — if this napkin ever got out — on why Americans should be party agnostic I would likely never get elected to public office.
But then I remembered, the movie ended well.
Years ago, when I finished watching Top Gun and marched into that Navy recruiter’s office at 17 years old, I was ready to save the world. I raised my right hand and took an oath. To this country. Not to any specific political party. When I served, I was surrounded by fellow sailors who didn’t always agree with my politics, but we did agree on “one team, one fight.”
Is it really too much to ask to be ONE NATION instead of Only My Party?
In politics, the elects seem to align with Only My Party and forget that we are America. I get it. America is made up of two primary political parties (God forbid you are an Independent). But when the political parties become feuding gangs, bashing each other, instead of talking about how to make the America we all live in better together, I find myself being agnostic. Last I checked, my God is party agnostic too.
As a party agnostic, I get to look at the issues, independently of party politics. It’s refreshing. Locally we have had candidates that gathered monies from special interests or aligned themselves with specific party lines for…get this…non-partisan positions.
Bottom line: What makes America great is that we do think differently — but instead of telling me why the other party is evil, tell me why you’ll make this city or this country better. Give me The Rule of Five – the five reasons why I should vote for you and the five reasons I shouldn’t. I’m likely a Kennedy Republican or a Reagan Democratic — which today means, I’m party agnostic (and burning the napkin).