I rarely step into the mucky ground of politics on this blog. For one thing, I don’t want to get hate mail and have my blog flamed. For another I am a person of generally moderate views and did most of my metaphorical bomb-throwing during my inflamed youth.
For the record I am a Democrat, but a lukewarm one, and I like it when there is some sensible opposition to my own party when they are in power, especially here in Massachusetts where Democrats are in a preponderance.
I have many fine, smart, and knowledgeable friends who are Republicans, and wouldn’t call one of them a wing nut. Well, maybe one. I read the New York Times with appreciation, but I don’t fool myself that it is particularly objective. I chuckle at the description of it as “the parish newsletter of self-satisfied liberalism.” I almost put “self-satisfied liberal” in the space next to political opinions on my Facebook Page. Instead I just put “yes.”
All this is prolegomena to what I am about to say, which is that I have never before seen an opposition party in this country ever so bent on the failure of their opponents at any cost as the Republican Party is now. It makes me very sad.
I never liked the vitriolic Bush-bashing that I often witnessed for eight years, and never participated in it, despite my strong view that he was not good for the country or the world. Bashing G.W. Bush at a Massachusetts dinner party takes about as much courage as cheering for the Red Sox in a Kenmore Square bar. We are a nation of laws and not men, and I respect the office of President even when I dislike the incumbant.
I don’t take Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck any more seriously than I would the guy who breathes fire at the circus. They are entertainers, and the people who take their views from them are benighted. Democrats have John Stewart and Stephen Colbert, who I admit are funnier and more ironic.
But I expect better from our elected officials than from our comedians. First it was Congressman Joe Wilson shouting out “liar” at the President during a speech to a joint session of Congress back in September.
Now, a few days ago, Congressman Nathan Deal, who is also a gubernatorial candidate in the Georgia Rebublican primary, announced that he is signing a letter to the White House with several of his Congressional colleagues asking for a copy of President Obama’s birth certificate. Deal also wants to take away the Fourteenth Amendment’s right for children born on American soil to be citizens.
I long for the days when Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neil could have a beer together. Where is the loyal opposition, who could horse-trade and compromise and advance the good of the country. These people today really just don’t like each other, and will not work together, even if the country is harmed by it.
And the country is being harmed by it. We have numerous significant issues before us that will impact our common life and the world’s for years to come. There are honest differences of opinion between the parties as there should be. But this kind of red-meat pandering to the wing nut base erodes the commonweal.
In Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address, with the country on the brink of Civil War, he said: “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
The party of Lincoln today should be ashamed of itself, and quickly recover the better angels of their nature. This country needs a responsible opposition party and soon.