Politics in America really does need an attitude adjustment. I stumbled upon this somewhat humorous Facebook page the other day: “Republicans for Obama.” Is that an oxymoron if you ever saw one? At first, I thought this was a promising, hopeful page until I started to read some of the postings.
The page turned out to be just another polarized forum for dissing the other party. I suppose I was expecting something a little more tongue-in-cheek, something a little less condescending; something that would spotlight the nonsense of our current American political climate. But, I was wrong. It was just adding to the nonsense.
I tend to doubt there really are any Republicans for Obama but, I suppose, it is not out of the realm of possibilities when I consider my own disposition towards politics and the importance of respecting any office holder who has been duly elected to a governing public position such as the Presidency and no matter whether that officeholder is Republican or Democrat. It is only common sense that after an election period is over; highlighting what is common between the two parties will serve to produce more functional and effective government.
Focusing on what is common between the parties will make us a stronger nation and afford us the ability to facedown foreign and domestic enemies efficiently and effectively. But, unfortunately, that’s not what we have today. What we have today are two parties at each other’s throats and a media machine doing everything in its power to make sure that never changes. The result: unending government stagnation. So, this extreme unproductive hostility one party has towards the other caused me to start thinking about how is it that American politics has steered so far off course from the vision our forefathers had originally intended?
President Washington, in his Farewell Address, warned: “Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.” Washington then proceeds to outline, convincingly, the points explaining why political parties in America are his major concern. Washington was a brilliant general, a brilliant President, a brilliant leader and a brilliant man. I think, sometimes, this brilliance is often overlooked by most people except for maybe a few historians. Washington’s warning goes to the core of my own belief that no matter what party you belong to, you cannot let the sword of partisan beliefs destroy the unity of our common belief in American liberty, justice, freedom and democracy. But, as far as I can tell, that is exactly what has been happening in today’s version of American politics.
We really need to steer away from focusing on the negative. We need to steer towards refocusing our efforts on the positive. As Americans, we need to resist being manipulated by emotional tactics based upon distorted facts and innuendo. There are many more attributes the two parties have in common with each other than they don’t. Highlighting the disagreements does nothing positive when considering how to effectively govern our country.
As seen with today’s congress, the constant negative back-and-forth accusations one party puts forth against the other party does not allow us to move forward and, furthermore, it really is unacceptable in a nation that expects to exist as the protector of democratic and republican ideals; ideals that both parties claim to value so much. In fact, this divided state we find ourselves in is threating our very existence. It is making it easy for our enemies by allowing them to take advantage of this puzzling vulnerability we have decided to own.
For example, consider what has happened with the Ukraine and the Middle East. Blaming the other party or individuals in the other party is unacceptable in a time of crisis. Forgetting about blame and concentrating on an effective response by working together is the only acceptable way to behave. Anything else is a selfish, self-destructive and juvenile response in my mind just short of treason.
You cannot value your party so much that it prevents you from paying attention to the greater concerns of our nation. Party politics is not more important than the United States of America. We need to take President Washington’s warning more seriously. I am an American first. My party affiliation always comes second. If you are an American and value being an American citizen, what I am advocating is that you embrace the idea that we all need to become Americans first.