It has been awhile since I posted and I have been wracking my brain to figure out why. Surely I have not run out of things to discuss, I have not become shy and I am not bored with it. So, what has caused this recent creative block?
Last Thursday I was sitting in the stands of the Lafayette vs. Bucknell men’s basketball game. Lafayette got off to a very strong start and then all of the sudden they had blown a 23 - 9 lead just before half time. In the second half the Leopards struggled but they never gave up and in the end they squeaked a narrow victory. So, what does this have to do with my writers block? Lafayette never gave up, they could have gotten discouraged and given up but they did not. The fought the good fight and won the game. This hit me at the end of the game, I have allowed myself to get discouraged by what is going on in Washington and this has left me uninspired and lacking my usual natural instinct to fight back.
Getting discouraged about politics is really quite unlike me. I am by no means a cheerleader type or the perky, blue sky, glass full kind of guy. Believe me when I say my glass is always half empty. When it comes to politics I like to think that I am a realist. There are always ups and downs, there are always lurches to the right and to the left, there are always those who try to pull the nation to an extreme point of view but in the end the sensible center usually wins the day. And, that is where I usually find my self – The liberal sensible center. I believe in the great American experiment and that this great republic will always survive those who try to shake it from its center.
I have been on the losing side more times than I have been on the winning side. Candidates I have supported have been very successful and some have turned out to be disasters both before and after the election and yet I never allowed myself to get discouraged. When Jimmy Carter, Jeannette Reibman and Bob Freeman all lost in 1980 I was crushed and I cried a number of times over the following months but I did not allow myself to get discouraged. In 1984 I knew that Walter Mondale was going to lose but I threw myself into that race anyway, sure I was disappointed but I did not allow myself to get discouraged. In 1988 I received a letter from the Dukakis campaign asking for another contribution to retire his campaign debt, I returned the letter asking the campaign to the return the money I gave them earlier because they did not use it wisely, and yet I was not discouraged. Bob Freeman’s race in 1994 broke my heart and drove me out of active campaigning but even then I did not allow myself to get discouraged. I always believed that no matter who was elected this great nation would survive.
Our politics has become so polarized that I am not sure there is a way back to a more bipartisan approach to issues. I lay this clearly at the feet of the Republican Party.
I have never before seen a congressional party so focused in the destruction of a Presidency. In the past the sensible center of each party would find a way to pass legislation that would move this nation forward. Some Democrats supported the initiatives from Reagan and Bush and Republicans found their way to support the legislation proposed by Johnson and Clinton. I have never seen a party so determined to destroy a President as these current congressional Republicans. They look for ways to criticize things they supported in the past. They vote against his nominee to the Supreme Court even though they voted for her twice before. They oppose the nominee for Fed Chair even though they voted for him 6 years ago and supported him when he served in the Presidency of one of their own. They supported his policies that led this nation into its current economic state and they supported him when he found ways to ease the pain. Yet now that Obama supports him they are opposing him.
They go around saying there were no terrorist attacks while George Bush was President. I can’t comment further on this because the statement is so ridiculous that it does not deserve the dignity of a comment.
I wonder if the great civil rights legislation of the 1960s were introduced today by a Democratic President they would support it.
They cheat on their wives with wild abandon yet claim the moral high road when denying me the right to marry the person I have been monogamous with for 26 years.
They compare a gorilla that escaped from a zoo to the First Lady. They call the President a liar during a speech to the nation via a Joint Session of Congress. They spread lies about his birthright and infer that he is the bastard child of an African. They try to link him to terrorists by emphasizing his middle name. They have opposed his major pieces of legislation without offering options of their own and hope they can turn their votes into his Waterloo, they openly hope he fails.
For the 12 years of Reagan/Bush and the 8 years of Bush 2 they had no problems with increasing the rate of government spending. Deficits were higher during the Reagan/Bush/Bush years than during the years the Democrats held the presidency and yet now they care about the rate of government spending and the nation’s debt.
They were about to run the VA into the ground (until they were caught) and yet they question this Presidents commitment to the military.
They supported the civil trial of the shoe bomber (a terrorist attack that occurred during the Bush years) and now they do not support a civil trial for the underwear bomber.
There has always been hypocrisy in politics but the Republicans have taken their hubris to a level unsurpassed in American history. This current crop of Republican leaders has brought this nations politics to an all time low.
If we have survived people like Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon and Dick Cheney in the past why am I so discouraged about the future? The Democrats are no better and when there is a Republican President they will decide to get revenge for all the trials and tribulations of this Democratic President thus continuing the downward spiral.