Richard ‘Dick’ Muther: To improve governing, gather the ex-presidents annually

07/13/2014 7:00 AM

07/13/2014 8:22 PM

It is fair to say that an improved system of governing America is past due.

As the leading democracy of the world we are not getting world-class leadership.

We know deep in our hearts that today’s politically led American democracy is intellectually limited.

But I submit that the process can be improved, and done so by using the best of what we have to move into the future.

We in the United States tend to revere and rest on the governing concepts of 200 years ago. While we benefit from the wisdom, courage and sacrifices of our forefathers who years ago came to this faraway land, we know that we must continue to reach forward in order to progress.

The nature of modernism says we expect improvements. We find it in all fields: science, medicine, industry and communications. Why not in government?

I would be less than constructive if I simply complained about the situation. So let me suggest at least one way that we could move forward and do so without an “act of Congress.” Let’s call it Future Focused Democracy.

The idea is simply this: Once a year, have the former U. S. presidents meet and develop a joint statement of what our country should be planning for the next 50 years.

This presentation would address what we as a country, and as a partner in the world, should be focusing on in the distant future. That is, get these prior presidents to look to our country’s future based on their years of experience and leadership — and create a long-term plan.

The output doesn’t have to be a huge document; it could be only one page in length with four or five topics.

But it would be an “indicator of direction” for the country, its leaders and the world.

It would be addressed directly to the citizens of our country with no responsibilities to any group and with no intervening political parties. It certainly could help build an attitude of greater world responsibility and enhance the development of better statesmanship.

Many civilizations have sought the advice and wisdom of respected elders, so this is not a radical idea.

Our nation can build on our vision by applying the wisdom of those with experience and exposure. Our former presidents have had plenty of each.

If we gave them the stature of statesmen, they should no longer wish for political participation.

They could become a valuable asset, creating great potential for our country and possibly, to governments worldwide.

Just as important, these statesmens’ ability to look at history through the lens of experience could help them do long-range planning with clarity and hope in ways that no others are able to do.

Richard Muther, of Kansas City, is a certified management consultant and registered professional engineer (retired).


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