After all the campaign promises and vicious attacks, the political future of America can be distilled down to one important issue: partisanship. Unless partisanship is checked, this country will continue to deteriorate economically and politically before our very eyes.
Young people cannot appreciate productive government where both sides make the country better even in the face of extreme disagreement. In 1980, on the heels of the Iranian hostage crisis, Ronald Reagan was able to piece together an economic and political coalition with his opponents that changed the world. He accomplished this even with a determined group of Democrats hell-bent on bringing down his administration. With optimism and comity, Reagan forged an economic plan that brought us out of great turmoil and ended a cold war that threatened mankind.
Throughout American history, compromise reigned supreme in Washington. Politicians, no matter how head strong and cock sure they were, almost always figured out a way to solve America’s problems. However, in this day and age, political extremism overwhelms our government. Washington has become ineffective and moot. We have experienced an economic tsunami that has made it impossible for a large swath of American families to care for themselves leading to over 40 million people on food stamps. Unemployment is hovering at 8%, a generous estimate that would be much higher if calculated properly. Yet, our elected officials are unwilling to respond.
Our foreign policies have been ineffective in settling any of the unrest throughout the world. Terrorist activity is growing exponentially all over the Middle East. Islamists are unhappy and misdirected by religious fanatics to kill Westerners and their own brothers and sisters. One of the reasons for the rapid proliferation of suicide bombers and insurgents is a dearth of American leadership. We led the world and defeated tyrants through the 20th century. Why has our country become so impotent during the past several years?
Our political system has always recruited leaders who kept the U.S. and the world on an upward tend line in all areas including business, innovation, health, diplomacy, human rights and so much more. Today, we cannot govern ourselves, so why would another country half way around the world ask us to help it with its problems? What has happened in the last decade to make America so unimportant and so much less potent? The answer is that partisanship is strangling us; it threatens our legacy and the future of this nation.
All the interested parties in Washington have contributed to the current state of affairs. Frankly, it is not unusual for the majority to frustrate the opposition party. But, only rarely has the minority been so disgusted and intent on defeating and/or stymieing the majority, as it is today. Political ploys like filibusters and regulation without congressional concurrence are poisoning our nation because the sides are unwilling to negotiate in good faith.
As an example, consider the “fiscal cliff” issue. Congress has created a political fail-safe monster to force the opposing factions to do their job. Our leaders and legislators actually agreed to a law that would punish average Americans if they are unable to agree on a path to economic recovery. Economic Armageddon will occur if a compromise is not crafted before December 31. It includes draconian cuts to social programs and ill-advised cuts to our national defense. Maybe, the better solution would have been to force the resignation of every congressperson if a compromise was not implemented by the end of the year.
What is ironically interesting is that conservatives and liberals believe that the opposition is the primary culprit in the current debacle. Allow me to give you my take on this.
Shortly after being elected, Barack Obama set out to reform health care. It was a noble objective to offer protection to the millions of Americans who were without it. Unfortunately, the timing of the offering was totally inappropriate as job creation should have been the new president’s first priority.
Led by Obama, the Democratic Congress rammed the law through without input from Republicans. This was the beginning of the end; it set off a series of actions by Republicans that eventually enabled them to end the Democratic filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Since then, our government has been stagnant as Republicans block almost every new initiative by the administration.
To be clear, both sides are culpable for the seeds of partisanship, but Obama has used it for his own political advantage, and class warfare is his most devious weapon. Blaming one class of Americans for all the economic ills of the country is patently unfair and divisive. Predictably, the Republican backlash has been equally unproductive. However, Obama is responsible for the evolution and influence of the Tea Party and advancement of the most radical members of the Republican Party.
The only way this country will be able to move forward is with new leadership; we need to make a change or we are doomed. The damage is done and the wounds of the opposition are incurable with the current man in office. Americans will suffer four more years of inaction if Obama is reelected. We need a change to a person who will jumpstart the economy with a clear slate.