good ever came from two people shouting
at one another over irreconcilable opinions. The exchange quickly
deteriorates as animosities grow. Neither side learns anything from
the other. Accusations become more contrived, even insulting. After
a while, the combatants look idiotic as petulant name-calling and
threats make a mockery of them both. Whatever points they originally
tried to make have been distorted beyond recognition.
This same dynamic, in the name of
patriotism no less, now defines and completely stymies American
politics. On behalf of partisan wrangling (a contest that the majority
of Americans do not support), the important responsibilities of
government are being neglected, leaving the future of the nation
in constant jeopardy.
This trend will not reverse itself on its
own. Unopposed by sane discourse, it will only get worse. Those
involved are too rigidly invested in destroying the civility and
respect for truth that a functional democracy requires. The majority
of citizens, well-intentioned but discouraged beyond hope, have
withdrawn from the artificial fray, leaving dangerous extremists
Insanity is sometimes defined as doing
the same thing over and over while expecting different results.
This is where we find political strategies today, pushing the same
old adages that lead nowhere all the while furthering division
and urging followers to fight on. This quagmire of dysfunction is
so deeply engrained that it cannot be repaired by small adjustments
of political reform. We need a new alternative.
No outside enemy is as dangerous as a runaway
contagion that destroys us from within. The only antidote is for
people of reason and good will to step forward and bring the nation
back on course.
can start by separating ourselves from this hotbed of partisanship,
and by no longer adding fuel to animosities that are out of control.
This may be difficult at first. Well-meaning partisans think that
they are fighting the good fight, while they only make the situation
worse. We need a wiser course of action, a completely different
path, shook free of ready-made agendas, taglines and wedge issues.
(While many of these issues deserve attention, they have been so
politically exploited that they cannot be properly attended to until
a healthier process of discourse arises.)
By stepping back, clearing our minds and
rejecting the distortions of past entanglements, we can free ourselves
from the oppressive art of political wrangling. We will see the
issues from a new perspective that may lead to better solutions.
When our thoughts are no longer dictated by anger and attacking
others, we will truly be able to think for ourselves.
Once we extricate ourselves from the downward
spiral of heated argument and insult, we will express our views
with a political detachment that others will respect and value.
Only then will we truly make a difference.