Our legislative process is broken. We’re deciding some of the most important issues of our day not based on what’s best for the country, or on careful deliberation, but based on what terms can possibly survive the shredding machine of our divided Congress as it lurches past its self-imposed deadlines. We are not making the best laws we can, and our children are going to pay the price in higher taxes and reduced benefits. Should we just throw up our hands in despair? Or should we roll up our sleeves and do something about it? My top priority for 2013 is political reform. At every step of the process, from the gerrymandering of our electoral districts to the way we fund elections to the way the minority is blocked from introducing legislation in both houses, our democracy has become anti-democratic. It’s too prone to corruption by special interests and polarized dysfunction. I will convene a group of elder statesmen — including political scientists and former members of Congress from both parties — to recommend a package of reforms that will stop the madness. A great nation must have a way to pass good laws.
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Haidt is a professor of social psychology at the University of Virginia and the author of The Righteous Mind. His current research focuses on the moral foundations of politics and on ways liberals and conservatives can move beyond the culture wars and engage in more civil forms of politics and discourse.