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Do you want the soup or the salad? Many times, I prefer the salad over the soup, but the soup can be a viable option under certain circumstances. Situational factors impact my decision. 

Factors like what kind of soup is on the menu. Salad is typically the safe choice, as it is almost universally the same and healthier. But, certain soups can tempt a switch from the default position. 

Similarly, our society should want more policymakers who have flexibility in their approaches. Setting aside rigidity in their politics making them exclusively for and against positions religiously.

Political rigidity can create an appeasing sentiment for donors and voter bases, but usually is ineffective when actually doing the job you spent almost a year of your life competing for.

Many of us in the peanut gallery of society falsely believe that we could somehow perform the jobs of our elected officials. Like somehow their decisions are easy and lack the need for thought. 

Realistically, policymaking in general is a complex system of decisions which directly and indirectly impact many across our society. Each decision has unexpected consequences needed to be managed. No easy decisions. 

Consider the fact our society is not a homogenous set of people, culture, or values. Great variance exists from community to community, state to state. More so than any other nation in the world.

This level of variance makes political rigidity almost impossible to abide by in a general rule. The political and economic needs of groups of citizens vary and each deserve equal consideration. 

For instance, many politicians are quick to run to polar extremes in the face of national tragedies. Not surprising as donor groups and political organizations will make them do so. But not always a quick fix.  

For those holding strong anti-gun viewpoints, many do not consider the fact some places in our society require that people actually serve as their own personal public safety apparatus. Many like it that way. 

Many law abiding citizens own weapons not only for the use of hunting, but for the protection of their families and communities. Law enforcement may simply be too far away.

Conversely, government should keep guns away from people who wish to do harm to others or involve themselves in criminal activity that will likely lead to violence. Gun ownership can be reasonably limited.

In foreign policy, candidates cannot be exclusively doves or hawks, as certain situations require diplomacy and others may require military action. As seen in our recent past, predetermined stances may harm outcomes. 

There can be a balance if policymakers are not rigid in their ideology. They can have the salad and the soup if they work to construct policy programs tailored to the needs of certain communities and situations. 

Compromise and flexibility are no longer endearing terms in our politics. Many want complete obedience to ideological purity and not a “sliver of light” between their principles and actions. 

Predictability in elections may provide temporary relief in deciding who to support. But, the greater focus should be whether candidates have the tools to lead and create solutions to problems or challenges. 

Effective leaders are not usually ones who hold steadfast to ideology or dogmas or succomb to angry mobs, but people who can evaluate situations and bring people together to execute successful plans and programs. 

Consider the media coverage of elections. Great focus is placed on candidates’ stances on issues they may never have to face. Followed by media obsessively searching for deviations, with context left out. 

Instead, political candidates should be evaluated by how well they formulate decisions, lead groups of people, execute plans, and achieve successful outcomes. Principles are important, but process is vital. 

Our politics is no longer focused on effective policymaking or outcomes, but victories. Some prefer recessions over electoral victories for opponents. Prefer government inaction over cooperation and compromise. 

Emotion and intensity around our elections make people lose perspective. In the big picture, societal outcomes should be more important than electoral victories. 

After 2008, many anti-Obama people refused to give any credit to President Obama for steadying the economy. Now, anti-Trump refuse any credit to President Trump for growing the economy. Give credit where due. 

In politics, too many people would rather be right than happy. Like ordering the salad when you really wanted the soup.