I might be old fashioned, but I remember a time when presidential frontrunners didn’t get on national television and talk about the size of their genitalia.
This is where politics has gone.
Watching last night’s Republican debate—the “throw-down in Motown”—was entertaining to say the least. You could sit in front of the television with popcorn and beverage of your choice and laugh at the antics of Donald Trump and the rest of the candidates (with the exception of John Kasich who stayed out of the gutter). For entertainment value, it was good television—if you like watching Maury or Jerry Springer. But then fun and games turned to queasiness when the realization hit that this guy could be the President of the United States.
But don’t worry folks. He has big hands and is just fine where it counts. Trust him.
Where has civility gone?
Civility left a while ago. And to be honest, for a long time, politics was the least civilized profession out there. Gentlemen didn’t run Tammany Hall.
But more recently, civility was tossed out the window by the GOP. When a Republican representative can yell out that the President of the United States a liar during the State of the Union—and is not soundly rejected for it, well then look in the mirror when your presidential frontrunner can discuss his junk during what is supposed to be a debate on the issues.
I’m not saying you have to agree with the President. But you have to respect the office. We all have to. A friend that serves in the military told me a long time ago, you don’t need to respect the man, but you have to respect the office.
We don’t have to agree, but we have to be able to talk to each other. Now, we’ve gotten to the point where we can’t even talk to each other. And we’re all Americans. And we can’t even go into a room together and talk—let alone find agreement. That’s the problem with demonizing the other side: If you define the other side as immoral, socialist or fascist, how are you going to then legitimize to your voters the compromise you just made?
You can’t. And. Nothing. Gets. Done. You have gridlock in Washington and an angry public.
There will always be the other side. Republicans aren’t going anywhere. Democrats aren’t either. So we need to be able to work together rather than just oppose each other.
Our politicians—both sides of the aisle—are more worried about scoring political points or not allowing the other side to score political points than the best interests of our country.
The death of Justice Scalia provides an excellent example. Both parties have flipped their position on this debate based upon who is in the White House. Republicans now say that during an election year, the President should not fill a Supreme Court vacancy. The next President should. However, when Justice Kennedy was selected and sworn in by President Reagan, it was OK for the current president to select a Supreme Court justice during an election year. Democrats have also played twister on the issue. Twenty years ago, then Senator Joe Biden said a Supreme Court vacancy should not be filled in an election year—and now he believes it should.
So which is it? What benefits the country? That’s the problem with politics. Positions change depending on which political party will benefit. And nobody is asking what benefits the country?
Genitalia aside that is where Donald Trump is right.
Last night Trump was clear (and correct) when he said Ted Cruz is one of the prime reasons why nothing gets done in Washington. You can’t sit there and block everything you don’t agree with—something Ted Cruz excels at. Eventually, you need to sit down in the room with the other side and make deals.
On that point, Donald Trump is absolutely right. If this country is going to move forward, eventually, we’re going to have to sit in a room with each other—both sides—and find common ground. If we agree that the country has problems, which most of us agree upon, then we’re going to have to work them out together.
The alternative is the status quo. More bickering; more finger pointing; more yelling; more meaningless soundbites; less civility; less partnership; no compromise.
One day we’re all going to have to wake up and understand not every Democrat is bad. Not every Republican is bad. I have a Facebook friend that believes every Democrat is bad and refuses to vote for one. I have another Facebook friend that calls a certain presidential candidate the “C word.” Trust me, I want to delete both of them sometimes, but I also want to be tolerant of their viewpoints.
However, belief that every person on the other side of the aisle is bad just exacerbates the problem. The irony with the “every Democrat is bad” guy is that he accuses President Obama of dividing the country. Without commenting on that, isn’t it ironic that it comes from someone who can’t discuss issues with a Democrat because they’re inherently evil? Is there irony there?
Calling a presidential candidate the “C word” who served as First Lady of the state of Arkansas, served as First Lady of the United States, served as a United States Senator, and served as Secretary of State is wrong. She has done more in service of this country than 99.99% of us. You don’t have to agree with her. But respect what she has done. Don’t call her a “C word;” she certainly doesn’t deserve that.
So we are at the crossroads. We are certainly allowed to be angry about the direction the country is going. Nothing is happening. Nothing is getting done in Washington—and we should expect the people we put in that city to get more done. But, too much anger clouds judgment. We do stupid things when we act based purely on emotion. Acting solely on anger will put our nation in an even worse position.
Use your anger to motivate you to get involved. But don’t focus your anger on the other side. Regardless of what the media tells us: The other side is also American; the other side also loves this country; the other side pays taxes. The other side also votes. If we keep electing people who have a track record of demonizing the other side, then the state of our union will only get worse.
If we vote for people who will tell us unpopular truths, who will buck party when appropriate and doesn’t change positions based upon who controls the White House, maybe we can get our dysfunctional government to work for us again.
Filed under: National Politics