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Uniters and dividers...
seriously political...but it's time...
Way, way back in the early 2000’s former President GW Bush famously insisted, “I’m a uniter not a divider”. One can argue whether or not he delivered on that noble sentiment but certainly until the events of 9/11 there were honest attempts made to bridge the partisan divide and give matters of prime importance priority. Education was GWB’s first initiative and “No child left behind” had supporters as left of the spectrum as Sen, Edward Kennedy and became law. Peel back a bit further and the “Reagan Revolution” was in many ways made into more moderate governance through the workings of Democratic Majority Leader Tip O’Neal. Republican Presidents made efforts to find the center to legislate and many times found willing Democratic Congressional partners to get things done. Set in our contemporary frame of reference?…How quaint.
Partisan warfare with Democratic administrations as initiated by Newt Gingrich and perfected by Mitch McConnell reflect and magnify the sickness that is slowly but surely putting the US and Democracy itself at serious risk. Partisan gridlock has reduced Congress to the least trusted and most despised governmental institution. The Democratic controlled House has seen a passel of its bills addressing the most serious issues that most Americans face die at the hands of McConnell, the self proclaimed “Grim Reaper” who holds the GOP majority in the Senate and will see no bill come to the floor that doesn’t serve his party’s interest. This, the same person who in the midst of the previous economic crisis, with 10’s of millions suffering losses of jobs, homes and facing imminent economic calamity in ‘09 declared his #1 priority was to make Obama a one term President. By abusing the filibuster at levels of obstruction never before contemplated or realized, nearly every initiative was either blocked or delayed. Judicial appointments, the favored tactic of obtaining minority control in the absence of a legislative agenda, were blocked and warehoused until Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid in total frustration acted to negate the tactic, setting a precedent now used to alter the balance of the Supreme Court and the entire Federal Judiciary. In the midst of all the hypocrisy and political mud wrestling people have suffered, and the promises to make things right, that were to be delivered through the basics of governance were left unfulfilled.
All of this was prelude to creating a level of such extreme frustration within the electorate that 4 years ago the oversized promises to fix all of it from a 7 times bankrupted Game Show celebrity, posing as a billionaire, resulted in an “oh what the hell” electoral response from just enough voters in just the right States that gave a malignantly narcissistic clown, the keys to the White House.
So where are we now…a global pandemic with an exceptionally American “We’re Number 1!” death toll that continues unabated, a cratered economy that is the natural result of people not feeling safe enough to live normal lives, the degradation of the environment with the consequences of extreme weather that has long been forecast now a regular and calamitous occurrence and on a path to unimaginable calamity, long simmering issues of race, social justice and inequality reaching a tipping point, a global standing amongst long standing allies that now evokes pity and annoyance rather than respected leadership…the list just goes on and on.
If we are to have any chance of a reset, and a hopeful response to these and the rest of what confronts us and future generations, we have to come together and find consensus and act with purpose. We need leadership that has as its highest priority a mission of building consensus and acting to deliver results that begin to have an impact on people’s day to day lives and offers a much more hopeful future. To those of you who still for reasons that clearly baffle me, support the Celebrity Apprentice President, ask yourselves, has he once, just once, actually tried to unite us to a common calling to deal with any of these critical issues? Just once? Amidst the name calling, bullying, incessant lying, and bloated braggadocio has there been any real attempt to heal a broken nation beset by all of these very real problems by pulling people from all sides together?
In the coming weeks and through the debates, listen…who is looking to find common ground, who is trying to summon the best within all of us to work together to address these very big and very challenging issues that not only effect us but our children and theirs? Who is truly looking past divisions across “Blue States and Red States”, races, religions and gender and asking us to work together from a centrist vision that tackles the basic issues that can start to make life more livable and provide a more hopeful glimpse of what might come next? Just watch, listen and then decide and by whatever means available vote your conscience.