Wednesday, March 23, 2016

America is Better than This!

Passionate Election Politics are a part of America's rich political history. We can disagree like nobody else. Something has changed, however. The seeds were sewn by Newt Gingrich and his spirited "Republican Revolution" of 1994. This ushered in a new way of doing politics in Washington DC that become increasingly oppositional, partisan, and ideologically entrenched.

Following the election of President Obama, the smoldering embers of hatred and anger exploded into a firestorm of fury. With the Tea Party burgeoning onto the scene and pandering to people’s intense hatred toward Mr. Obama, the vile rancor of politics changed. This, coupled with a rise in emotionally charged rhetoric spewing from partisan-based news media and the incredibly rapid rise of Social Media, sparked a political world where whole populations of Americans began dividing into angry camps of ideological absolutism. Rather than agreeing to disagree on matters of political divide while continuing to work together for the good of the Nation as a whole, entrenched political attitudes shifted. People now fight to control the nation according to exclusive standards and narcissistic perspectives that vehemently deny the legitimacy of dissenters. In this political arena, those who disagree do not deserve to be called American. “If you are different from me and mine, you are wrong and can't be an American. Get out of my country!”

Not to presume that only Republicans are guilty of contributing to this age of vile partisanship, Nancy Pelosi emulated many of the destructive techniques used by Gingrich during her brief term as Speaker. Sadly, a piece of legislation that was—and still is—desperately needed became the proving grounds for the presumptive power of the Democratic Party after 2008. Obama Care was pushed through in ways that legitimately created needed change, but also created unintended problems. Perhaps most devastatingly, forcing Affordable Health Care through Congress poured gasoline over the already raging fires of hatred and anger within the Republican Party.

Stalemates in Congress, driven by absolutist politics, have destroyed the integrity of Capitol Hill. Viciously partisan accusations, investigations, and allegations have wasted countless billions of taxpayer money on nothing more than pushing narrow and narcissistic agendas onto the American people.  Politically biased news and social media diatribes have divided people across lines of narrow-minded ideological distinction that do nothing to serve the common good and further fuel anger, hatred, and the divisive rhetoric that serves only to degrade the integrity of the human spirit.

Something has to give! This must stop! Worse yet, the minute anyone says, “It is the other one’s fault, I’ll stop when they come to their senses and see it my way,” we all lose.

I have long said that it is not the occupant of the Oval Office or the leaders in Congress that will destroy this nation, but rather it is the American people that will bring us down. We also have the ability to build this nation up again. The difference lies in how we treat one another, how we respect diversity, how we agree to disagree, and how we respect the Elected Office even when we disagree with the person elected to hold that office. Sadly, our current political atmosphere proves that we are failing badly!

In January 2017 a new President will take the oath of office. Once we are done arguing over who that person should be (or should not be) we are faced with a serious question. Are we, as a nation, going to allow this disastrously dangerous downhill slide into the politics of absolutism and hatred continue, or will we grow up and come together? One will prescribe the end of our nation as we implode into the abyss of bitterness and disgrace. The other will demonstrate what has truly made us great in the past—the willingness to passionately disagree and passionately work together for everyone’s America.

The choice begins with you. What will you say, post, and communicate? If it is hatred, insults, bitterness, and vile partisanship then you are part of the problem. Every American is responsible for making this change. I am starting with myself. (And yes, I have unintentionally contributed to the demise myself, a fact for which I humbly repent.) Will you join me? Will you help put an end to hatred, division, and rampant dehumanization of others? The future of our nation depends on it.