In politics, a clearly defined majority is better than broad consensus

To the Editor:

In his editorial, “To win, Dems must unify ideas” (9/13), Alexander Dominitz seems to take my recommendation against depending on consensus and remove it from the context of the full overview of the creative process. The vital first step of defining parameters is tied directly to the second step of clarifying the decision-making process, where the comments on consensus comes in. If the first step is not done well, you are bound to failure.

We obviously disagree on political matters, and where this might be most profound is in defining the parameters in our work to create the best path for our country. The parameters need to be defined by facts, not by opinion.

The major disagreements that I, as a liberal, have with the current administration do not depend — as Dominitz states in his column ­­— on a kneejerk hatred of all things Bush. I sincerely attempt to look at facts. Going into Afghanistan to take out the training camps of the terrorists who attacked our country, for example, was a decision for action based on a clear understanding of the parameters we are dealing with. Diverting our resources from that effort in order to invade Iraq was a horrible and unnecessary mistake, based on stated parameters that were simply not true. The current administration has greatly damaged our country by taking this course.

I share Dominitz’s stated desire for truth. I hope he pays as much attention to defining parameters as he pays to the pitfalls of pushing too hard for consensus. Creativity cannot wait for consensus. If the parameters are defined clearly and truthfully, agreement from the majority of participants in the process will be possible.

A great creative undertaking on the world stage will never be accomplished by one entity or group forcing its will on the rest of the participants. It takes a willing majority coalition — not a consensus — of participants working under truthful and clear parameters, and an understandable and accepted decision-making process, to accomplish greatness.

Finally, I would encourage Dominitz to refrain from calling fellow citizens traitors (“alliance with the enemies of this country”). It is like pointing to a fellow actor in an ensemble and declaring “you want us to fail and have us totally suck on stage.” I’ve never met an actor who wanted a project to play poorly. I have worked in politics on and off for 34 years now, and I’ve never met an American, from the ultra-right to the ultra-left, who wants America to fail. Pure fabrication on the parameters we face comes from both sides. So do creative and worthwhile solutions from those who do not engage in such, and who find the way to work with good will.

Peter Buckley

Sept. 13, 2006

The writer is a Democratic Oregon state representative.

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