This is a huge departure from my usual posts, and it is one that I hope generates lots of comments, not because I want the traffic meter to crash into the stratosphere — I have, I assure you, an insurmountable distance to achieve that feat! — but because I want to have a discussion on this with others. To participate, you only need to feel free to speak your mind in a reasoned, rational manner without ad hominem attacks on those who disagree with you. In other words, if you call someone stupid or ignorant, or treasonous because of their beliefs; if you curse or stereotype or stick your fingers in your ears and eyes rather than consider respectfully their point of view; if you suggest that someone shouldn’t comment or has no right to his or her own opinion, just stop reading right now. Come back another time when I’m posting about a book, a new recipe, a pretty photograph, marveling about something wonderous I’ve found in the natural world or reveling in some piece of optimism or a kind act of a fellow human being. I don’t care if you’re a writer or an artist; a runner, a vegan or a mommy blogger; a city dweller or a country liver; live on the East Coast, or the West Coast or somewhere in the spaces in between the coasts; a conservative or a liberal; an atheist, a Christian, a Muslim, a Zoroastrian, a seeker or a doubter; a progressive or a libertarian or anarchist. I only care that you choose to participate in this discussion using reasonable, rational, calm, non-inflammatory discourse. Heck, I don’t even care if you are an American, although this is an American issue. In fact, I’d also like to know what those of you who are NOT Americans think of this as well (and I hope you don’t jump to conclusions that we Americans are all crazies!)
As some of you may have gathered from other posts, I live in Indiana. Although Indiana’s electoral votes in the 2008 Presidential election went to Obama, that was likely an anomaly. Indiana is a very conservative state. Even our Democratic Party officials are far more conservative than the national Democratic party. The Hoosier state has always been that way as long as I’ve lived here (for > 4 decades). Yesterday, in the Indiana Primary, the incumbent Senator, The Honorable Richard Lugar, was overwhelmingly defeated by a “tea party” challenger, Richard Mourdock.
Senator Lugar, in comments following his defeat, stated the following:
”Too often bipartisanship is equated with centrism or deal cutting. Bipartisanship is not the opposite of principle. One can be very conservative or very liberal and still have a bipartisan mindset. Such a mindset acknowledges that the other party is also patriotic and may have some good ideas. It acknowledges that national unity is important, and that aggressive partisanship deepens cynicism, sharpens political vendettas, and depletes the national reserve of good will that is critical to our survival in hard times. Certainly this was understood by President Reagan, who worked with Democrats frequently and showed flexibility that would be ridiculed today — from assenting to tax increases in the 1983 Social Security fix, to compromising on landmark tax reform legislation in 1986, to advancing arms control agreements in his second term.”
You can read Lugar’s full remarks here.
So, what do you think? Do you agree with Lugar? Or should the victorious majority get to set all of the rules according to their agenda, without compromise? If you agree with Lugar, what does the citizenry need to do to move our elected officials towards bipartisanship?
In my opinion, both the Democrats and the Republicans are equally guilty of being entrenched in their own positions, wishing to remain at their own extreme ends of the political spectrum, and unwilling to work together to solve problems. “Purity” tests to determine if one is a “real” D or a “real” R appear to exist in both parties — and they only seem intended to placate big-money special interest groups, not individual voters. As a taxpayer, as a citizen, I resent this, but I don’t have the answers as to what needs to happen to change course.
Ready? Set? Remember, trolling and similar nastiness will not be tolerated and such comments will be deleted without remorse.