Tuesday, January 31, 2017

All Or Nothing Is Not the Correct Approach

Many ultra left wing liberal Democrat friends post things on Facebook that basically say all Republicans are wrong, everything a Republican says is stupid, immoral and will lead to the demise of our great country.

Many ultra right wing Republican friends post things on Facebook that basically say all Democrats are wrong, everything a Democrat says is stupid, unpatriotic and will lead to the demise of our country.

Stop it. Just stop it!

Every Democrat is not exactly like every other Democrat. Every Republican is not like every other Republican. There are stupid, immoral and unpatriotic Democrats AND Republicans. There are smart, moral and
compassionate Democrats AND Republicans. Most people of either party believe in some of the principles usually associated with the other party. Not every American is a registered member of either; there are libertarians and there are independents.

We are individuals!

I urge my ultra friends on either side to think about something I consider to be logic-based truth: if there was only one way to believe, only one way to act, only one solution to every problem, we'd all believe, act or solve that way. Truth, and our own American form of democracy, is based on a melting of contradictory ideas, beliefs and solutions to problems.

It annoys the hell out of me when people blame things on everyone of a certain party. One specific Democrat Facebook friend is constantly blaming all Republicans for things he thinks are wrong, essentially insulting a lot of my Republican friends (including my very closest friend in life). One specific Republican Facebook friend is frequently blaming all Democrats for things she thinks are wrong, essentially insulting a lot of my Democrat friends (and me, the boyfriend of her aunt).

In fact, that last one posted a comment essentially blaming all Democrats for the violent Inauguration Day protests that led to broken windows and a firebombed limousine. What, you think a Republican has never broken a window or torched a car?  I'm certain those protesters were stupid, misguided thugs and they certainly DO NOT REPRESENT ME OR MOST DEMOCRATS. And in keeping with the conspiratorial tone of our new president, those protesters could have been paid Republican Trump supporters. They probably were NOT, but this is the kind of thinking I'm talking about.

I've been a registered Democrat since 1975 but I am not an extreme, left wing liberal. Don't assume that about me and don't assume I never vote for Republicans. Don't assume I blame all Republicans for anything. Don't assume I always agree with everything every Democrat says or does.

I do blame the Republican majority in Congress for many negative things.  A few years ago I blamed the Democratic majority in Congress. Under the arrogant leadership of Nancy Pelosi, they blew a great opportunity to enact meaningful legislation, in part by ignoring the concept of bipartisan compromise. The current Republican leadership didn't learn this lesson and their arrogant refusal to listen to opposing views will guarantee continued, frustrating gridlock. They will wake up one day two years from now and realize they lost their majority.

Meanwhile Democratic and Republican politicians alike are paying more attention to their party than they are to their constituents: we the people.

And we are individuals!

The all or nothing approach to anything is a bad idea, in my opinion, because it closes the door to ideas that can eventually solve problems. The best solution is often a compromise of ideas. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Some final thoughts to this rambling post:

A Republican administration (Lincoln) ended slavery, created the Interstate Highway system (Eisenhower), ended the Vietnam War (Nixon) and created the Environmental Protection Agency (Nixon again, wow).

A Democratic administration ended World War II (Truman), enacted meaningful civil rights legislation (Johnson), created Medicare (Johnson again), balanced the federal budget (Clinton), ended two wars (Obama) and ended a financial crisis (Obama again).

All of the above happened as a result of spirited debate and a compromise of often conflicting ideas and opinions.

You know I hate our new president and believe he is a dangerous con artist. However, he is our president. And buried somewhere in his insulting (my opinion), misguided (again, my opinion) inaugural address are some positive promises about infrastructure and jobs. Presidential arrogance and congressional arrogance will not be enough to make those things happen. Compromise and respect of opposing ideas will be the approach that could lead to positive results.

Will that happen? Time will tell.

Can Democrats and Republicans with opposing views get along?  Ask my girlfriend.

No comments: