Listen to the President: Politics Must Change

I will be honest. I really liked President Obama's State of the Union address. But then I really like Barack Obama and his belief in all of us. He has done more to benefit this country than anyone else, despite the meanness and spite that has continued to bubble under and above the surface.

This is an extremely intelligent and thoughtful man. Sometimes I think the resentment you hear from his opponents has nothing to do with the policies he has worked so hard to promote. It really has an undertone of envy and jealousy.

The constant attempts at trying to undermine the President have really undermined the people who promote them. Notice that the Congress has the lowest rating ever. Some of these leaders have become so involved in their hatred that nothing is getting done.

Meanwhile, this political season has already become filled with back biting, name calling and tasteless ragging. Doesn't it kind of feel like junior high or high school?

My first political campaign was in 1964. And yes, I had people slam doors in my face when I was a college student out canvassing. But there seemed to be some effort at discussing issues, even if there was fear mongering.

In 2012, after weeks and months of planning, the Iliff School of Theology at Denver University hosted a session on Civil Discourse. Former Governor Bill Ritter (Dem) and former Senator Bill Armstrong (Rep) had a dialogue in front of an audience of students, political party representatives, and members of the public. It was a very interesting discussion about how people with different political views could come together and talk about the issues they were elected to resolve for the common good. It was a glorious moment in time.

But one of the political consultants there said that the reason they use negative campaign ads is because they work. Unfortunately, I believe they do work, most often to make people jaundiced and apathetic about the possibility of even voting. It also keeps people from running for office and from any other kind of public service.

The president says we are supposed to argue. I agree, with respect, dignity and truth.

And he said that we have to "stay involved in public life." In this state, voter turn out is highest during Presidential years. Even then voters do not go down the ticket and vote on each race. We have to change that.

So yes, let's get big money out of politics. Let's create an even field. Let's demand that instead of knocking down the other candidates, you were required to make the case for why you are to be give the sacred trust of leadership.

A lot of us are shaking our heads at the state of politics. But we need to demand better. The President is correct. We have to do more than hope politics will change. We have to make it happen.