Or do we?
There once was a day in America when we were in fact united, living by and respecting our Constitution and our Rule of Law. There was a time when we believed as a people in justice for one and all. Where we believed in equality, opportunity and freedom, FREEDOMS FOR THE INDIVIDUAL NEVER, EVER TO ABRIDGED BY GOVERNMENT OF ANY KIND. NEVER. We the people, as we continue to form a more perfect union, were once a people more united than divided.
We honored and saluted our national flag, our beloved stars and stripes. We stood proudly and respectfully and sang our national anthem. We proudly recited our pledge of allegiance to our flag, and to our great Republic, and to one nation, ours, INDIVISIBLE, believing in, working for and protecting liberty and justice for all. FOR ALL! Regardless of race, color, creed, gender or any other DIFFERENCE.
E PLURIBUS UNUM were living words, all for one and one for all. We sought to understand each other and to forge legislation and the way of living fair and equitable and without Constitutional compromise. We had true American values of loyalty, patriotism, independence and justice, real justice, and real justice for all. We were then more indivisible than divided.
But not today. We are more divided than ever, split down the middle, polarized, incapable of dialogue, arguers, angry and fearful. There is no dialogue because one side determines what is right and consequently, any countering or conflicting points of view are of necessity WRONG. Civility is gone. Rudeness, disrespect, hate speech rule the day. It is tragic for America, especially tragic for WE THE PEOPLE and as we splinter farther and farther, divided more than ever, our great country, all that it is and stands for will erode and, God forbid, perhaps eventually disappear. So much of all of this emanates from Washington, DC. From our Congress especially, House and Senate divided, fractured, hardly ever communicating across the aisle. Small wonder barely one out of seven citizens have respect for Congress and thinks of this political body respectfully.
Even so, says William Galston, writer for the Wall Street Journal:
“Millions of Americans yearn for a more civil and cooperative form of politics, but the Republican and Democratic parties are pulling us in the opposite direction.”
Do we ever and are they ever. It is critical for the survival of America that civility be restored. We want that. We want to hear reasonable, rational dialogue. We want to understand in fair and just terms the position of others so that we can think carefully, and even rethink our positions where possible in light of the positions of others. And at the same time, we want the opportunity to explain what we believe in rational, civil dialogue and not argumentation. Our leaders show us a different way. The more angry they are, the more bombast, the louder and more shrill the dialogue, the more powerful the politician appears. So often, we the people mimic those politicians, our alleged leaders govern how we conduct our lives and our discourse. And civility becomes just a word long lost.
And cooperation. As Mr. Galston says, we yearn for cooperation. How good it would be to see a Mitch McConnell and a Chuck Schumer shake hands, embrace and discuss issues with civility. Or Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan the very same. How good it would be to see that cooperation at work. Let television and radio provide us with the dialogue of rational, fair-minded, justice-thinking politicians discussing, REALLY FAIRLY AND RESPECTFULLY DISCUSSING the issues of the day. Really making an effort to get things done, COOPERATING together for the good of our great country and we the people. We elect our politicians, our leaders to get things done. Too cooperate. But no matter the party, whether Republican or Democrat, or even independent forces and persons, the party and power prevails and we the people are ruled, absolutely ruled and not governed by 535 people: a President, 100 Senators, 435 Congresspersons and 9 Supreme Court Justices. 535 people rule, absolutely rule 330 million people. And they often do so without accountability. They become career politicians, elected over and over again. Like Schumer, like McConnell, like Pelosi, like so many others who are vested in politics and power. Small wonder those so politically impervious pay little or no attention to us. They rule, but they do not govern. They beg for money and votes and when elected, utterly ignore the giver and the voter.
Our political parties Democrat and Republican in the words of Galston “have drifted ideologically farther apart than they were two decades ago.” This constantly widening ideological split occurs in race, sex, age, education, location and religion among others. There really is no such thing as a centrist politician or centrist political beliefs. One now is either conservative, mildly so or extreme, or liberal, to the left of center or polarized to the extreme. And, the farther to the radical left a party or individual moves, or to the extreme and uncompromising right, there is then no possibility for dialogue of any kind.
William Galston concludes his excellent article in the Wall Street Journal with the following statement:
“Our politics would be more likely to produce constructive solutions if the variegated groups that form American society were in constant dialogue. But that doesn’t seem likely to happen. When parties are so divided along lines of race, sex, religion and class, compromise between their moderate wings is the only viable path to progress.”
Unfortunately, the moderate wings of Democrat and Republican parties are seemingly ineffective, can not carry the dialogue much less past legislation. These moderate wingers seem incapable of ameliorating the sharpened and hard positions of the extreme left or right. There is then no cooperation, no compromise, no possibility of:
TRYING THE GOLDEN RULE IN WASHINGTON
As writer Suzanne Fields so well stated when in fact that “mean-spirited town” needs a prescription for “an elixir of kindness.”
Ms. Fields sees Washington as a town in turmoil, and in chaos and groveling in cynicism. Fields says about Washington, DC politics:
“Divide is the name of the game.”
Everyone seems to be in fighting mode. Leaders like Trump and Biden once boasted how they would like to punch each other out rather than work for common political solutions.
But even underneath all of this bluster and chaos, Fields says:
“There seems to be a craving for community, for a sense that we’re all in this together and should seek solutions through a give-and-take in reasoned debate.”
How wonderful that would be. If we could ever find a way to implement, to work and live by the words of former President George H.W. Bush, who himself yearned for:
A KINDER, GENTLER AMERICA.
Where people respected each other no matter their differences. What a blessing and a boon that would be for America if only that could happen.
Not long ago, President Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. In his parting statement, Tillerson stated:
“This (Washington, DC) can be a very mean-spirited town.”
Tillerson then went onto state the following:
“To treat each other with respect regardless of the job title, the station in life, or your role. We are all human beings trying to do our part. Each of us gets to choose the person we want to be, and the way we want to be treated, and the way we will treat others.”
We should continue to search, Tillerson went on, for ways to talk to each other without the snark that begets anger, hair-trigger tempers and often the obscenities which have become the lingua franca of the Capitol. In short, says Fields, why can’t we begin to try:
THE GOLDEN RULE IN WASHINGTON
But politicians do unto other politicians what they want, and then do everything possible to prevent those other politicians from doing the same unto them. And without civility or respect. It is tragic indeed, perhaps even laughable in the world at large as other nations watch political America at work. We were once the most respected leaders in the world as was our politics which have now turned to laughingstock. But we the people, by the tens of millions, continue to hope and pray for Revival, POLITICAL REVIVAL IN AMERICA. We yearn for the Golden Rule at work. For cooperation between our elected leaders. For governing and not ruling. For the protection of our Constitution, and for the preservation of our liberty and freedoms. We elect and hope. So often we are disappointed and in this raging era of POST TRUTH, we are accustomed to politicians lying to get elected, forsaking promises and in office doing exactly what they wish. What a tragedy for our great country.
Even as we pray for them as we are instructed, we should make every effort as citizens to hold those we have elected ACCOUNTABLE. We should find a way, together, to make them live up to their political promises. We should confront them when they fail in dialogue, or civility, or morals or ethics, when they misrepresent or disrespect us, WE THE PEOPLE-THE VOTERS! If we the people do not take back OUR country, soon there will be no country. An active, proactive, informed citizen-voter politically at work at all times is the only answer to the problems in America. I hope and pray you are that kind of citizen, that you will take part in movements which will once more restore to America our leading ideal and motto:
IN GOD WE TRUST
And that we will save America as the beacon on the hill it once was.
It seems to me that we have no right to ask GOD BLESS AMERICA unless we the people are doing everything humanly possible to put our great country on the right path.