Our world is reeling again, this time from several recent terrorist attacks. The most recent horrific attack hit Paris a few days ago, and at last count, left 132 people dead. There is concern that Washington, D.C. may be targeted, although the D.C. powers that be say there is no evidence of such. And once again, many “experts” in both political parties are pontificating about what should have happened, and of course, blaming Obama. Instead of focusing on what needs to happen now, uniting our country against the real villains, too many people in both parties are using these events as another way to slam our current President. Hindsight is always 20/20. So Monday morning quarterbacking is in full swing.
I grieve for us. As optimistic as I am, I am about to concede that the divisiveness between our two main political parties may be what destroys us, at least it destroys our spirit. This is not about political positions and ideologies, it is about negative and disruptive behavior that keeps us focused on the wrong things at a time when we need to be united against the real enemies. Instead, we are divided as a country against ourselves.
I do not plan to justify, defend or blame our president’s decisions, actions, or behavior for our current state of affairs. Nor do I blame President George Bush for 9/11 or Iraq. Nor do they get the credit for the good things that happened on their watch. And hopefully it is obvious to all that these two presidents are from two different political parties. These are both good men, and they would not have risen to the esteemed office of president were they not capable, at least capable of some things deemed important to the voters.
Although there is plenty of blame to go around, if any one person or group is to blame for our current divisiveness that could destroy our country, it is Congress. It is Congress that either works with a president or impedes his actions every step of the way. It is Congress that either can show public support for the leader of the free world, or make him a laughingstock of our country. The latter happened with George Bush, and it is happening again with Obama. This makes it so much easier for others including terrorists to find the weak links in our systems, and work diligently to destroy us. 9/11 was a major hit to this country, and of course an even more major hit to those who lost loved ones. We have mostly recovered, but it didn’t happen quickly or easily. Another major hit to the U.S. could destroy most of what this free world values. It would be a shame if we are coconspirators in our own demise.
So, what do we need to do? First, we need to stop the Monday morning quarterbacking, and respectfully and professionally through our differences focus on the present and future. There is nothing other than political posturing to be gained from bashing our current administration. It is time, past time really, to work with our current administration, to come together focused on solutions. Regardless of our beliefs about which party has the solutions or best answers to take us into the future, we need to band together now against our common enemy. We have ample opportunity in November 2016 to cast our one vote for who we think can best lead us into the future. Between now and then the political landscape will likely change again as it did a few days ago. There is a lot of ambiguity facing us in the next year. We need to hold tight to our ideals, respectfully disagree about strategies, but never, yes, never, bash our leaders. They need and deserve our full support as they navigate these unchartered waters.
I plan to start with me. I pledge to remain open minded and show support for the leaders in both parties, and not just listen to the loudest or the most entertaining, or the candidate I have already decided will get my vote next November. In my open mindedness, I just might change my mind about that! I am not one who posts things on Facebook about the opposite party, but I can have heated discussions with friends and family about politics. I pledge to ask more questions, and be less definitive about who I believe in until I get into the voting booth. I pledge to be more positive about all of our leaders, and I consider any people running for president to be a leader (at least by position if not by behavior,) and they deserve my thoughtful consideration of their candidacy.
My pledge reminds me of my husband Mike’s New Years resolution several years ago. After years of talking negatively about people in traffic, he vowed to make no negative comments to/about other drivers. And he kept his pledge, and not just for that year! And riding with him is now much more pleasant. He also has a phrase, “I feel strongly both ways,” meaning he understands both sides of many issues, and isn’t locked in to “My way or the highway thinking.” This is a great example of open mindedness, a quality more of us should exhibit.
No more Monday morning quarterbacking. No more negative talk. No more bashing people or parties with whom I disagree. Not even at Thanksgiving, with all of the relatives with different opinions together. That will be the real test!
That is my pledge. How about yours?