Reflecting on my chance encounter with Scott Fitzgerald’s aide, I’m reminded of one of the reasons Michelle Zahn is running against Fitzgerald. Now that he has a majority in the senate, Fitzgerald feels he doesn’t need to listen to what the Democratic senators have to say about anything. (Not to mention the numerous complaints I’ve heard as I’ve done doors about Joel’s distain for people who disagree with him.) Michelle rightfully points out that no one has a monopoly on good ideas; in fact, those who don’t agree with you can often help you see the flaws in your ideas.
It’s useful to compare the American Revolution to the French Revolution: No heads rolled during the American Revolution. That’s because the English “thought” they were right while the French “knew” they were right. Arriving at certainty in an echo chamber can lead to errors that history will judge harshly.
Bringing this argument forward to the present, it has been my experience in the high tech industry, as well as education, that the best and most innovative solutions come when people with different experiences, better yet disciplines, have an open discussion about a problem.
We can only live up to our state motto “Forward,” when we work together. That’s why the politics of division and certainty of having a monopoly on good ideas are not serving Wisconsin now and will not serve us in the future as we compete in a global economy. In fact, I strongly believe it will only cause Wisconsin to fall further behind, not just the other states in the Midwest, but also the rest of the country and the world.