Once upon a time, politicians got elected and then found ways to work together to govern their towns, counties, states, and countries constructively. Life was good.
Then an evil magician poisoned the nation’s atmosphere. Politicians became more interested in placing blame and making others look bad than in doing anything useful. The people followed the politicians’ lead. Citizens became more and more polarized. They forgot that they all loved the same country, their country, and that they needed to get along with each other, even when they had dramatically different opinions.
Where are the good sorcerers and fairies who can fix this mess?
Friends, I think we are going to have to do it ourselves.
I read a couple of constructive ideas from a dedicated Republican (which I am not) in a letter to the editor of a newspaper recently. Here they are.
Immigration: It is not realistic to think that we can deport 11 million illegal immigrants. It is realistic to say that the path to citizenship must respect American values: commit no crimes, get a job, pay taxes, and if at all possible, learn this country’s common language, English.
Abortion: You do not need to decide that it is OK for people to get abortions. For now, the law permits it. That will not change for a while, and many people who maybe shouldn’t be having sex will be doing it anyway. What you can do is help make abortion unnecessary for most. Help make sure that the boys and girls and men and women who may be sexually active learn about birth control and have access to it. For those who get pregnant anyway, provide the emotional, physical, and financial support needed to carry the baby to term. Then make sure that a good adoptive home is available if the parents are unable or unwilling to care for the baby.
Let me add an idea that might come from a dedicated Democrat (which I am not).
Medicare: What people can do to cure life-threatening illnesses and repair bodies after accidents is amazing. And expensive. Many conditions that once ended life early can now be controlled. There are a great many baby boomers around, and it appears that they and their elders will be around for a very long time. We simply cannot afford to give them the generous level of Medicare coverage that our senior citizens now enjoy. We are going to have to be more realistic.
And one idea that maybe anyone with some common sense could endorse:
Election Spending: We just had by far the most expensive election campaign season this country has ever seen. Probably about six billion dollars. And the outcome? Mostly the status quo in the House, the Senate, and the Oval Office. Imagine how much more good the money spent on political propaganda could have done for health care, law enforcement, support for wounded warriors, education, or any other good cause. Let’s be sensible. Let’s urge our representatives and other leaders to do whatever is needed to overturn the Citizens United ruling.
If these ideas interest you, try reading Splitting America by Bill Eddy and Don Saposnek. The book is based on an analogy. The relationship between politics as currently practiced in the U.S. and American citizens is very much like the relationship between high conflict divorced parents and their children. The effects on citizens are much like the effects on the children of nasty, never-ending divorces: BAD. Fortunately, the authors spell out some clear ideas about how we can change our political culture and so make life better for citizens and children. Let’s learn to get along with each other and work together.
About Virginia L Colin, Ph.D.
The author is a Professional Family Mediator certified by the Virginia Supreme Court. Additional information is available at http://fairfaxmediator.com.