I can’t help but wonder at times whether this great nation is at a crossroads regarding where we are headed. The more I read, the more news I listen to, and the more I absorb the words being spoken by our leaders causes me to be truly troubled at times.
I’m not so naive as to believe that American Politics has ever been made up of a harmonious group of individuals. Democrats do not always agree with other Democrats, any more than Republicans share the same beliefs on issues. However, today it is hard to find anyone looking at issues, but instead at pure political gamesmanship.
I have always felt that it is through reasoned and educated compromise that we are able to find an acceptable ground to move forward on, with respect to the many complicated issues of the day.
Forging those alliances and understandings between men and women of good faith seems to be an art that is sorely missing in today’s world, whether it be on the local, state or federal level. The process of finding compromise in today’s world seems dominated by speeches, tweets and maneuvering that finds differing sides facing a wider separation of their beliefs and fewer and fewer chances to find those illusive words which could lead to the necessary compromises that would lead to successful negotiations.
You can’t help but wonder where all this began. Some would speculate it started in the breakdown of the family unit. The desires to acquire more and more of those material things in life, while losing sight of how important the quality of our life is.
Have we become a “me too generation,” which many have warned us against over the last several decades? Have we forgotten about our responsibilities to each other and the need to show respect and deference to those we may differ with, even if we hold differing opinions?
I often think about how we were brought up regarding the respect we were taught to give to our parents and grandparents. It always seemed to come natural to us, maybe that was because it was ingrained within our upbringing. What happened to that? That change didn’t come overnight, but we’d be lying to ourselves if we didn’t admit those changes did come.
Some of my generation’s changes came about due to our exposure to the Vietnam War and the scandals of the ‘70s. I think we lost some of our confidence in those that led and lied to us about the war and how a President could lie to an entire country in the ‘70s about a third-rate burglary that permanently stained and degraded that office.
Every person who has sat in the Oval Office has come to realize the enormous responsibility which lies in protecting the citizens of our great nation. This President has inherited a mess regarding the issue of illegal immigration and the flow of illicit materials such as drugs, human trafficking and weapons. We would be foolish not to recognize the potential that lies with the infiltration of those wishing to do harm to our nation across that porous southern border.
Both Republicans and Democrats have been remiss in their duties regarding this threat. To bury one’s head in the sand and ignore it, while seeking to make cheap political points, makes those politicians as bad as those that would come here and harm our citizens. Video clips, showing Democratic leaders, only a few years ago taking the same position as our President today, is a disturbing example of what is wrong with our political system.
Watching members of the U.S. House of Representatives and some U.S. Senators failing to recognize some of the great achievements of the American people over the last two years was what most would describe as “childish” at best. Some made their point that evening, and it wasn’t to applaud the successes of our nation, but to bemoan a President they feel is unworthy of the office.
Only time will allow us to fully evaluate the accomplishments of this President or any of those that have come before or after him. History has treated those that have held that office better than their contemporaries, as it is hard to assess their successes or failures with a balanced view without prejudices.
We need to start putting our political affiliations away and remember we are Americans first. We need as a people to remember that our Founding Fathers did not see public service as a profession, but as a responsibility.
I do not bemoan our elected representatives of their salaries, but do not wish to allow them to feed at the public trough for 30 to 50 years. Congressman John Dingell served in the Congress from 1955 to 2015, holding the record of longest serving member of Congress, retiring after 59 years of service and was buried this week.
Term limits, election law reform and stronger ethics rules are a necessity and we as a people must demand it from those who work for us, at all levels of government, otherwise we have only ourselves to blame.