Perspective Perspective

The illustration below is blunt, somewhat unfair and, well, true. Before you scroll down to see it and react to it or what I just said, let me point out that my circle of friends is fairly evenly divided among Democrats, Republicans, Independents and WTFs. Most of my Republican friends are intelligent and sincere; we just usually disagree on many issues.

That said, I have to think that many Republicans are wondering what happened to their party.

Look at this for a minute. The three Presidents pictured below were all Republican and are among the greatest leaders in the history of our country.

Let me site just one example related to each, purely from my basic knowledge based on things I read.

Abraham Lincoln – Ended slavery and enabled the United States of America to remain united as ONE country, not two or more.

Teddy Roosevelt – His numerous and diverse accomplishments include curbing the power of large corporations, advocating more pay and shorter hours for workers, banning misleading food labels and he was an outspoken conservationist and created the original National Park system.

Dwight Eisenhower – In my view, his single greatest achievement as President is our Interstate Highway system. It was designed to improve national security by enabling efficient and safe movement of military troops and supplies but had the side benefit of getting Americans to explore our great country .

Those milestones I mentioned were huge federal projects that many people in each time period claimed were examples of too much government interference in people’s lives and stepped on state’s rights. How dare anyone tell a Mississippi cotton grower he can’t own slaves? What do you mean a developer can’t build houses and hotels on every square foot of the Shenandoah Mountains? A network of wide, expansive and expensive highways connecting a hundred cities and each state has to pay a portion of the cost?

Those were huge, costly and controversial issues that ultimately happened because elected officials of multiple political parties found a way to agree, led by the big vision of the top guy in the party of small government. What happened? Where did that go? If you are a Republican, do you dare compare Romney or either Bush to the guys in the top row of the picture above?

Over that same 150-year period in American history, there are a few standout Democrats too, of course.

Franklin Roosevelt – got the country out of the worst depression in its history; kept us out of a world war till it stepped on our turf, then mobilized us into the greatest nation on the planet.

John Kennedy – kept us from a third world war and launched the dream of landing a human on the moon, which advanced the cause of science and technology in ways we benefit from to this day (such as the computer you’re reading this on with eyesight improved by lasik surgery).

Lyndon Johnson – Made basic human and civil rights the law and began federal government projects that we take for granted today (Medicare, for example).

Those too were huge, costly and controversial issues that ultimately happened because elected officials of multiple political parties found a way to agree.

By the way, each example I mentioned resulted in true job creation and economic stimulus, improved the quality of life of nearly all citizens and ultimately made us a better country.

The perspective I’ve shared in this post is not a condemnation of any political party. Democrats and Republicans can take great pride in these accomplishments and also share some of the shame of the other bad things caused by both parties. My point is that when we reduce partisan politics and increase cooperation, great things can happen.

Vision and cooperation wins the day. The rest is crap.