Do you remember the moment when you threw up your hands and said, “I’m done! I’ve never seen a group of grown men and women who are more dysfunctional, more contrarian, and more obstructive than the folks who are supposedly running our country”? I do.
For me it was 2009 when South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson shouted “You lie!” during President Obama’s speech on healthcare.
Calling the president a liar? On Capitol Hill?
I recently returned from Washington where I spent a week covering the inauguration and trying to find out if Washington can work. Easier said than done.
Want to know why? Well first, you have to go back, way back. Washington was designed to work slowly and deliberately.
Statesman debating and battling over what is best for the country.
But then, they were supposed to eventually settle on something that would be best for the country and best for the people who voted them into office.
But now? Consensus, statesmanship, compromise? Please, show me where those are.
Think about our great forefathers Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln. What would they think of what Washington has become?
I talked to Marc Heatherington, a political science professor at Vanderbilt University. When I asked him what causes the dysfunction he said it all boils down to this: “We hate each other.”
I thought about it, and you know what? He’s right. Have you ever seen the kind of polarization that we have in America right now?
Immigration, healthcare, race relations, even the Supreme Court.
They not only seem to hate each other on the Hill, we hate each other all across the heartland. From Portland, Maine, to Portland Oregon, there is deep division.
And consider what feeds this furnace of hate and mistrust. The internet. We have never lived in a time where there is more information and misinformation.
A haven for tellers of fact and fiction where both are mixed up and passed on like some giant game of telephone. And in the end, who you believe depends on which side of the aisle you sit on.
Where do we go from here? How does it get fixed?
Maybe former Sen. Dennis DeConcini said it best when he told me, “Politicians have forgotten how to compromise. Without compromise, there is no hope of anything getting done.”
Maybe we should all take that to heart. And, pay closer attention to where we get our news from. The more we divide off into our political silos, the more we demand that our elected officials move in lockstep with what we believe.
The more they do that for fear of being voted out of office by a super PAC, the less effective they are.
In the end, we all remember what it feels like to be an American. To cheer for our country when we land on the moon or win a gold medal.
We know how to cry together and then rise up together when our country is attacked. We know how to do it.
Source: 12 News