The lack of Cooperation, compromise, and civility is tearing the country apart

divided america

Our nation has been at war continuously for over a decade, the financial system exploded and sent destructive shrapnel throughout the economy and the wealthiest one percent have increased their wealth at astronomical rates while the 99 percent have found it difficult, if not impossible, to keep up with the rate of inflation.

Any one of these ought to be enough to unify the country. Happening in concert should insure a cohesive national government working together to start solving these major problems. And, to seal the deal, the two presidents of the 21st century have run on promises of unity, not division and assurances of across-the-aisle compromise and mutual efforts.

But we are still a divided America, and bitterly. Close friends I know to be intelligent and reasonable in most things become apoplectic at the mere mention of Barack Obama. To them, the Affordable Care Act might as well contain provisions for kicking old ladies in the dentures and roasting puppies over open flames for all the vitriol they aim at it.

That goes for pretty much everything he has done, thought about doing, didn’t do, etc. They may claim that there are legitimate reasons for their hatred – and let’s be honest, the president has made some missteps along the way – but the hatred existed before he was even sworn into office.

The Republicans swore a blood oath (apparently) to do whatever they could do to slow, obstruct, and obliterate any and all of Obama’s policy plans. The right claims that since they disagree, they should of course do whatever they can to insure the failure of Obama’s policies.

Fine, but over 400 filibusters including most of President Obama’s appointments? That goes way beyond disagreement and crosses the line into an unhealthy obsession. How about 42 (and counting) votes to defund the Affordable Care Act? If they spent half as much effort on legislation that could actually help the country we’d be far better off.

divided americaPolitical and philosophical discussions are important, vital even, to this country’s health and long-term viability. Let’s face it, when Republicans complain about wasteful government spending in a general sense, there are very few people who disagree. So discussing that is important – but the polarity of politics prevents either side from being bold.

Let’s not forget that Obamacare used to be Romneycare, and the immigration bill supported by the President looked an awful lot like the one proposed by President Bush. The country is held hostage by radical elements on both sides. Although President Obama seems too willing on occasion to ignore liberals in what seems like ill-advised and poorly-received attempts to compromise, at least he’s trying.

Around the corner, there awaits another fabricated crisis over the debt ceiling, avoidable and yet apparently inevitable. Again, discussions about how much the government spends are crucially important – so let’s have one!

Let’s decide that a safety net, while vital to too many people in poverty now, can be reduced with a more reasonable tax code. Let’s agree that robbing the rich to pay for the poor isn’t great policy, but creating tax structures that actually collect taxes owed and eliminates loopholes for the wealthiest one percent makes real financial sense.

Let’s agree that health care shouldn’t be a luxury item, but let’s also agree that, while a step in the right direction, the Affordable Care Act might need some tweaking. If your one year-old car has a noisy muffler, you don’t bring the car to the scrap yard, just as you don’t scrap historic legislation without at least giving a good faith effort to make it better. All this, would require cooperation, compromise, and civility. Something Republicans have been reluctant to give.

I'm a husband and a father. I've been a teacher for over 20 years in Special Education and Secondary English. I am involved in my local teacher's association. I'm a musician in two rock bands. I registered as a Republican way back in 1983, but have slowly moved to the other end of the spectrum as I've grown older and wiser. I attempt to look critically at all issues, but still end up agreeing with progressive positions most of the time - go figure.


  1. Thank you for acknowledging where the problem really lies at present. I was afraid you, like much of the so-called “liberal media,” were going to try to pretend that both sides are somehow to blame for the breakdown in governance and political functioning. with 400 filibusters and 42 repeal votes, it is clearly NOT the case that both sides are to blame.

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