Monday, February 5, 2018

A House Divided

"A house divided against itself cannot stand." I believe this government cannot endure..." - Abraham Lincoln June 16, 1858

Subject: White House (altered by James Kiester) | Date: 02/29/2008 | Photographer: Okatah |This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
I’m back! Long term health issues have kept me from writing anything more than a few lines on Facebook for quite some time. A kind volunteer (shout out to Whitney Regan) let me dictate a few pieces to her last summer, before she left Oregon to grace the shores of Hawaii. Needless to say, I’ve been effectively mute for the remainder of 2017 and the first few weeks of 2018.

For my first blog back, I could've written about almost anything; the repeal of DACA, the tax bill, the wall, the looming government shutdown, or our lack of aid to Puerto Rico. Yet, to write about just one bass ackwards presidential policy would be like writing about one quill on a porcupine. What would be the point? Underneath the surface of all the issues, lies an air of divisiveness, such as this country has a rarely seen.

OK, we were pretty divided back in the 1860s, but since then we have worked together  as one nation.  Granted, Democrats have always disagreed with Republicans and hippies have always railed against "the man." However, lawmakers have, historically, been able to debate, negotiate, then act in the best interest of the country.

About four years ago, I read Chris Mathews' Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked.  The book chronicles the relationship between the Democratic Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill, and the Republican President, Ronald Reagan.  The two men disagreed on almost every conceivable issue.  These men were LEADERS though.  They put loyalty to country before loyalty to party.  Thus, they were each able to compromise enough to keep America's business moving forward.

Over the last year, I have felt like the gap between "them" and "us" has widened in size from a narrow line to the Grand Canyon.  Democrats work behind closed doors with other Democrats, Republicans work behind closed doors with other Republicans, but they don't listen to each other. There's no atmosphere of cooperation.

Meanwhile over in the White House, the President won't sign a budget without a $1.6 billion line item for a border wall.  On top of that, those who work for the FBI, Department of Justice, EPA, and other agencies, not to mention his own cabinet, are walking on eggshells with the knowledge that if they do something Trump doesn't like, they can be fired for disloyalty.

This feeling of animosity has spilled over from the political realm into everyday life. Think about it, people shook their fists and grew beet red with anger over what football players did during the National Anthem. We argued for three months over what happened for two minutes before a ball game. I don't think that is what we were actually arguing about. It's as if we used the issue to vent off steam which has been building up for the past year.

Let's get it together people! Just because our leaders behave like children doesn't mean that we have to. We may differ on the details regarding immigration, abortion, and gay rights, but when all is said and done we're all Americans. Let's start acting like it!

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