Does either side of the political fence think that total annihilation of the other side is plausible? Is that the goal? If it isn’t then why aren’t we working together or even listening to each other? Why are the arguments so extreme?
Does anyone really think either party is going to lie down and confess, “You guys were right! We need to shut up, step aside and let you take over!”?
I’ll admit that I did not like the Bush Administration and I was vocal as I opposed the invasion of Iraq and I was baffled by reducing revenue while engaging in two wars.
I bristled as money was siphoned from the bottom toward the top due to continuing market de-regulation allowing toxic derivatives.
I scoffed at the poorly conceived and underfunded “No Child Left Behind,” as well as falsifying costs of the Prescription Drug Program.
I was miffed when President Bush shunned counsel from his own economic advisors, and angry at Dick Cheney’s self-serving involvement in creating Halliburton loopholes.
I was ashamed of the administration’s jingoistic foreign policy that alienated allies and I was incensed by the Patriot Act which gave government virtually unlimited powers of surveillance over its citizens without judicial oversight!
In short, I wanted George W Bush and his neo-cons, the post-Reagan Republicans on the right to go away. I wanted an election sweep where the left took over.
I was naïve.
The lines of division are now so wide that bi-partisan cooperation has been as improbable as Justin Bieber becoming an advisor to the Princeton Review.
Here’s my conundrum: When I offer an olive branch by acknowledging accomplishments of Republicans, or even when I am critical of Democrats, I don’t get even “one thin wafer” of appeasement from my friends on the right.
Instead, they reveal a grave double-standard as they chastise me for supporting our President while they condemn him for some of the very things they once embraced. Or, at least things they once cared far less about.
Things like the Patriot Act, Deficit Spending, Debt Ceilings or the Debt, for that matter.
Obama essentially continued the same economic recovery plan set into motion by Bush with Stimulus Spending and Bailout Loans to Detroit and Wall Street. Very little was done to actually “regulate” the markets that had just betrayed us. Obama did not immediately de-escalate the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, either. He didn’t change counter-terrorism policies and he continued the Patriot Act. In fact (olive branch coming) if President Obama’s stimulus package and loans to Detroit and financial institutions were instrumental in the recession’s reversal trends, we have to share that credit with President Bush, as well.
Yet, the Republicans hate President Obama and when I point out the inconsistencies in their arguments, their reply is consistent: “Excuses! When are you going to stop blaming Bush?”
Well….history is what it is, but this isn’t really about placing blame. It’s about trying to figure out what it is that they believe on the right. Unless it is to assume all Muslims might be terrorists, that Mexicans are primarily criminals, that gay marriage will destroy civilization, and that a zygote should have a checking account.
If the Republican “offense” is that Democrats are making excuses and still blaming Bush for what is wrong, then why can’t they acknowledge what is right?
And I have to ask…”Excuses for what exactly?”
Look at the stock market, corporate cash reserves, hiring, and the housing market. More Americans have health security. Look at real budget numbers that show deficit spending was coming down even before draconian, Republican demanded, austerity measures.
Those words will fire up the Republicans who read my columns as they insist that America has only fallen deeper into every political hole for the past 7 years.
I am not suggesting that it’s time for anyone to take a victory lap; we still have deep, dark issues surrounding civil liberties, immigration, un-employment, foreign policies, and Constitutional protections. But, unless we can find common purpose; unless we can define mutual principles to guide America, we will condemn ourselves to continue this unhealthy and destructive journey toward an eventual implosion.