Wednesday, June 13, 2007

More thoughts on a Long Island Congress.

Is the creation of a "Long Island Congress" even possible?

It is, but it will take a change in how we approach public policy problem solving.

Instead of viewing ourselves as part of one organization or another, concerned with only one issue or another; we must instead think as a "pan-Long Island-ist" practicing "pan-Long Island-ism" (general term for the various movements or approaches on Long Island that have as their common goal the unity of Long Island and the fostering of non-confrontational, cooperative interaction between all Long Island organizations).

That is to say, how do all Long Island issues connect in the broadest sense and how do we create an environment conducive to the long term health of all Long Islanders?

First issue. Please leave your ego and ambition at the door. The Long Island Congress can not be viewed as a "launching pad" for political office or as a forum to "dominate" some sector of the debate.

Second issue. Have some humility. No one has all the answers and those who are not naturally assertive may in fact have the missing piece to the puzzle. The Long Island Congress must be inclusive.

Third issue. Learn to compromise and think of ways to build bridges between your position and others. Many times we think we have the whole solution when in fact we only have a part of it.

Fourth issue. Long Island must be unified in most issues to survive any adverse economic downturn, loss of political power or other "global" crises. If we don' t have a coordinated approach to solving Long Island's issues, we may be easily "divided and conquered" by interests outside of Long Island. For Long Island to remain "relevant" not only in New York State affairs, but as a region that has relevance in the wider world at large, we must be united.

Fifth issue. We must allow for our unique differences while cooperating as a region. Let's start simple and work up to the bigger issues. Success breeds success. Here is an example of some folks starting to think in the right direction, although it is not clear if there must be a major consolidation of these groups. Consolidation follows cooperation; it is not a means to an end in and of itself.

These are just some initial thoughts. More to follow.

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