I have a good friend, and for those who frequent this Monday newspaper column, it may surprise you when I tell you he is a liberal Democrat. Like most good friends, we have something in common; in our case one of those things is our interest in politics.
The other day we were having our own “beer summit,” discussing our usual topic. We spent the first few minutes posturing as we always do and as is most often the case, we agreed the country is a mess, and we actually agreed on most of the problems our country has. Where we disagree is on the solutions.
Sounds just like Washington, doesn’t it? And in a way, it is. But the difference between Washington and our beer summit, and it is a big difference, is that we can sit down at the same table. We can come to a consensus. We can agree the government is broken. We can agree to disagree and find common ground on which we can begin to solve problems.
Another difference — and this is the really big one — unlike our elected officials we are not prisoners of a political party. Regardless if you think the problems in our nation, and there are many, like deficit spending to the tune of $13 trillion, illegal immigration, Social Security and Medicare going broke, federal bailouts, the growing tax burden, or the fact half of us pay no federal income tax at all, the overseas wars, the loss of jobs to foreign countries, corporate greed, the list can go on and on, but regardless of the problems, it is our political parties, and their unwillingness to sit around the same table and have legitimate constructive discussions that is the single most devastating problem we face today.
Now, here is where our conversation took a strange twist. My friend said he reads my “Monday Rantings” each week, and once, just once, why couldn’t I write something positive? I replied because people may not be interested in reading another story about my granddaughter!
He said, ”No, seriously, why don’t you write something positive about this country?”
I said, “Fine, help me find something positive.” An awkward moment of silence, which in itself was not such a bad thing, since our glasses were near empty and it gave us a chance to refresh. Now, finding something positive about our great nation is not a difficult thing to do, but finding something “Politically Positive” obviously is.
So while we pondered for a political positive, we found time to agree the first thing to do is to get rid of the entire current U.S. Congress because they have so spoiled the stew it is probably necessary to throw out the whole batch and begin anew. We also agreed that regardless of how disconnected we feel from the current congress, it is the only process we have at our disposal if we want to change the course of this nation.
So where are the positives? In the people. It is a positive that we are still in charge and we get our power from the United States Constitution and we exercise that power in the voting booths. It is a positive that we have a well educated populace and regardless of which side of the aisle you favor, we know how to solve problems. It is a positive we can change our elected officials every few years if they are not responsive to our demands.
It is a positive we live in an age of extreme communication which alone gives us more transparency than ever before in our history. It’s a positive that there is still a deeply rooted sense of patriotism and that the people will not let this grand experiment in self governing end by the hands of incompetent partisan fools who care much more about keeping their good job than doing a good job.
It is a positive that people on all sides are fed up, mad as hell, and aren’t going to take it anymore. It is a positive that we have Americans capable of righting the wrongs, of repairing the broken, of restoring the strength and of rescuing our children’s future. It is a positive we the people have vision and are re-engaging in our self governance.
And it is a positive that a conservative and a liberal can actually sit down over a cold beverage and do more in an hour than the Washingtonians can do in several terms in office. Finally, it is positive that true patriotism does not belong to a political party, but to the people, and that true friends who love our country can reach the same destination traveling different roads.
Friends, it is still good to be an American!