Where has mutual respect and understanding gone in the Pennsylvania General Assembly?


Today’s political landscape in Pennsylvania is bipolar, with a vast emptiness of space between the two ideologies. In other words, finding the middle ground between the current Democratic administration and the Republican majority doesn’t seem plausible, in fact there appears to be no longer be a middle ground. How can this be? Why do Pennsylvania politics suddenly resemble North and South Korea, separated by an uninhabited, demilitarized zone?

Winning the latest News Cycle

Leaders of both political parties seem fixated in winning the latest news cycle, demeaning their colleagues across the aisle, and disregarding the possibility that the best answers, the best strategies, just may lie somewhere between the biases of their parties. In fact, the rehetoric often directed from one party toward the leaders of the other, take on a personal bent, rather than a true perspective of the issues at hand.

Fundamental Attribution Error

Some, including me, consider this a pattern of party leaders falling victim to Fundamental Attribution Error. Fundamental Attribution Error occurs when we try to understand and explain what happens in social settings. We tend to view other’s behavior as a particularly significant factor and explain their behavior in terms of perceived motives character issues, etc. as opposed to external situational factors, often outside of their control. (http://tinyurl.com/k6mohbs)

In this instance of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, parties tend to focus on the slant of the opposite party, rather than the ideas under consideration and their impact on our commonwealth. Yet  their own party positions, often extremes themselves, and not in the best interests of our society, are reasoned away with situational attributes.

Call to Action

Instead of trying to win the newsday or skewer the other party, we need to eliminate the Attribution Error rhetoric, and focus on the issues, through a lens of mutual respect and the future we are creating for our most important citizens, our children.

  • Do you agree that both parties in the PA General Assembly suffer from the Fundamental Attribution Error as they consider proposals from the ‘other side’?
  • Would Pennsylvania be better served if our elected officials spent less time attacking one another, and more time collaborating on solutions?

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