Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Country Divided? Really? Are We So Different?

I was planning on avoiding the election results in my blog today, but I find no matter what topic I consider writing about, I keep drifting back to the inevitable. Whether our candidates or propositions won or lost, I think we all find ourselves thinking about what the future holds and whether we are on the brink of success or disaster. One sentiment that has been repeated by so many in recent days is that we are a country divided to a degree never seen before in our history. I don't think that is entirely true. 

If you look back over the history of our elections, there have been a lot of very close presidential races, and controversy is by no means a modern invention. Did you know that JFK, one of our most revered presidents of all time, won the popular vote by just 112,827 votes (49.7% to 49.6%)?  He carried only 22 states, while his opponent, none other than Richard Nixon, carried 26 states. It doesn't get much closer, or more divided, than that. JFK was a great man and the entire nation mourned, together, at his loss.

One thing I do believe is true is that our representatives need to get back to the business of running this country. Obama has another four years to do what he set out to do, and I honestly hope he makes some inroads. As I posted on Facebook last night, I let loose a diatribe of my frustration at all of Washington, and not just one candidate vs. another. The condition we find ourselves in is greater than just one man:
"There better be some change this time, and I mean positive change. There better be jobs. There better be energy independence. There better be a balanced budget. There better be responsible spending. There better be bi-partisan efforts in Congress. There better be improved foreign policy. He promised us 4 years ago things would be better. Are things better? He is promising again things will be better. Things better be better. This country cannot continue on the path it is on and expect things magically will be better. Somebody has to do the right thing and make them better. Oh yeah, and we better get our debt under control too."
As we all noticed, and expected, there was a great deal of political commentary on FB today, both positive and negative. I do not believe there is any value to the negative other than to make oneself feel better by having a good 'yell' or 'cry' similar to the kind when we are just down right angry at the universe. Fine, have your fit, and then let's move on. As a follow-up comment on my post I felt the need to further clarify my position:
"The mess we are in, I agree, is no more Obama's fault, than it is Bush's, than it is Clinton's, than it is all those who came before. Fingers can be pointed at both parties and fairly so, both parties have made their mistakes, and none are free of some of the blame - it rests on the shoulders of ALL. No matter who sits in that office, no matter who sits in Congress - we simply cannot spend more than we earn. And we cannot continue to raise taxes. We need to close tax loopholes and improve collections. I truly do not believe it is a matter of not having enough money to properly run this country, it is a matter of what we spend that money on. I also believe that until Congress, particularly career politicians - which is most of them, are subject to the same programs the rest of us are, that nothing meaningful will ever happen. They aren't hurting, so what's the big deal? They receive automatic pay raises, have a sweet pension deal, earn nearly 3x the average median income, work about half the year, and enjoy quite a few other perks as well. If they can line their pockets and those of their cronies with tax payers dollars and continue to get away with it, nothing will change - at least not for the better."
Even as troubled as our country seems at times, seemingly wobbling under it's own weight and obesity, I can't imagine a better place to live that affords the human spirit more opportunity and more freedom. Just last week a 15 year old Pakistani girl was killed by her own parents when they threw acid on her because she looked at a boy... because - she - looked - at - a  - boy!!!  O M G !!!  Yea, I'm good here living in this country, thanks, where I can spout off about my government and not have to look over my shoulder in fear. And if I'm riled up enough, I can always run for office. I have that right and that freedom. Not too bad!

Let's work together and move forward. I think if we look close enough we will realize we really aren't as divided as we may think.

1 comment:

  1. I am with you! Let's put our differences aside and combine our strengths to make this even a more kick-ass country!