Sunday, August 07, 2011

Congressional Stalemate Ends With a Handshake

I can solve the problem of Congress refusing to compromise. (Don't worry, this isn't a political post that will make you angry if your politics differ from mine.)
This is not a Republican or Democratic solution. It's all about equality and getting to a swift resolution, unlike what has been happening in our Congress and led to downgrading of our bonds.
This idea came to me while I was teaching a class on Interpersonal Communication. One of the lessons is on gestures across cultures. I found a clip from a BBC program that talked about ways people shake hands in different countries around the world.
The Kurds in Turkey grasp hands and start shaking hands as they bargain. They do not release the hand of the other person until they have reached an agreement, whether it is on the price of sheep or rugs or honey.
Now imagine that Republicans and Democrats are paired up in the Senate and House of Representatives. They are told to reach an agreement on the budget or wars or a Supreme Court nominee. They must continue to shake hands, never releasing the grip, continuing to pump their arms up and down, until an agreement, hopefully a compromise is reached.
It's like everyone is being filibustered at the same time. They are all hostages to the handshake, which should encourage them to make compromises.
But, there's something about looking someone in the eye and touching their flesh. Hand to hand, that thumb wrapped around the man or woman's hand, it's hard to deny that person is real, that person has concerns for this issue too. Political grandstanding should scrape to a halt. It's hard to BS up close and personal.
A different issue everyday. Congress arrives, they shake on it until the issue is resolved and the next day they can do the same thing again.
With adoption of the Kurdish handshake, government should start moving forward again.
Heck, serve them some iced tea before they go to the House or Senate floor and they'll be even more eager to end debate quickly so they can release hands to get the bathroom.


Linda said...

Works for me.

Paulita said...

Yes, but Linda, lucky you. You're in France where they've been assured their credit rating is safe.

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