As the president-elect draws closer to assuming his post, politics in America seems destined for further polarization. Stories continue to unfold with accusations flying from both sides of the spectrum. This country seems addicted to political backbiting and turmoil.
Trump has lambasted the CIA’s revelation that the Russian government, with direct ties to Putin, were behind the hack of the DNC servers with the apparent intent of swinging the W into Trump’s column. Trump was quoted as saying, “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.” President-elect Trump continues to deny the Russian government was involved, instead insisting the CIA has a political agenda and that this entire investigation is politically driven to “de-legitimize the election.” The GOP has endorsed a congressional probe, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declaring, “The Russians are not our friends,” as though we needed reminding.
After nearly eight years of near-constant political clashes between America’s two parties, the end seems nowhere in sight. We now find ourselves in a mirror image of where the nation was in 2008—the Republicans now in control instead of the Democrats. If history is to be a guide, we stand ready to repeat a cycle of complete government gridlock, something many voters stated as a reason they voted for Trump. Anyone remember “drain the swamp?”
Yet with every new story that rolls across our screens, both sides seem hell-bent on not just pointing fingers, but completely discrediting the other side. Why does it appear our officials lose all sense of poise and decency the minute they reach office and find a microphone (or Twitter account)?
Some of these accusations are serious, and they should not be flippantly dismissed as our new president is suggesting by his comments and Twitter outbursts. However, the left must accept defeat more graciously. Let’s not forget the outrage shown by Democrats when many talking heads on the right, and their supporters, came out denouncing President-elect Obama (go to the tape all you Limbaugh fans). I really doubt that the left would be basking in a Hillary presidency if it wasn’t for those meddling Russians. Can we simply stop reliving this disturbing presidential election already and move toward the business of good ol’ fashioned American executive transfer of power?
While we are at it, perhaps we can show some willingness to work with one another and maybe dust off that great tool of representative democracy that greases the wheels of this enormous bureaucracy we call a nation. Add in a healthy dose of mutual respect, and hope for real change becomes a possibility.
Instead, political debate in this country has evolved into a form of toxic entertainment. Each week, we watch as members of Congress join in the retaliation merry-go-round, spewing venom at one another. Many of our leaders need a reminder of the honor of their office and the giants of humanity who once held their same position decades and decades before them. Men like James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution,” or Daniel Webster and Henry Clay, both great compromisers who served at a time when it was more than just good politics. Abraham Lincoln knew retribution after the great Civil War would only plunge our wounded nation into anarchy and dissolution.
Now is the time to attempt to bridge the divides that we have all allowed to grow between us. We must try to look past our differences and focus on what unites us—this country we all love. To quote a truly great Russian, Mikhail Gorbachev, “A balance of interests rather than a balance of power, a search for compromise and concord rather than a search for advantages at other people’s expense, and respect for equality rather than claims to leadership—such are the elements which can provide the groundwork for world progress.” They also can provide just as well for national unity, something sorely needed, as evidenced in the chaos of our national discussions.
A house divided against itself cannot stand. True in every era and no doubt the ultimate goal of our enemies, Russian or otherwise. We must rise to the occasion as we have always done when called and show the world, both friend and foe, despite our divisions, united we must stand.