Vail Daily column: Our next president needs wings
The bald eagle was chosen as the emblem of the United States because of its long life, great strength and majestic appearance. One needn’t be an ornithologist to realize that both of the bald eagle’s wings must work together if it is to fly, defend itself or provide for its young — in essence, without both wings, the eagle will not survive.
Like the bald eagle, if we as a nation expect to move forward and address the many issues facing us, both (political) wings must work together. And wouldn’t it be wonderful if those on the left and the right actually understood that concept? No more party bashing and no more excoriating a different ideology just because it doesn’t comport with our own.
Differing opinions are what make us human. But few things positive occur and very little gets done in Washington when everyone is at each other’s throats; thus clear-thinking Americans should demand bipartisanship from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
If we’re honest with ourselves it must be conceded that the current administration has done precious little during the past seven years to bring the two parties, much less the American people together. In fact, if we’re really honest about it, the last seven years have seen American politics degenerate to their lowest point since the Civil War as the climate of distrust intensified and the political divisions have deepened.
So here’s a question we might consider asking ourselves during this political season. “What has each of the candidates said or promised to do to make both wings work together rather than telling us what the other party has done wrong?”
History has shown when dissension and division underpin a political climate, it’s usually indicative of a failure of leadership whether the cause was the leader’s ego, ideology or inexperience.
And let’s face it — just about every aspect of the nation’s health, from decreasing family median income to an out-of-control national debt to an unfocused and disastrous foreign policy are a result of the acrimony that’s existed in Washington for the past seven years.
Beating up on Congress is an American tradition; one of America’s greatest writers, Mark Twain, realized this when he said, “Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” But with the challenges of a $19 trillion debt and terrorism at our doorstop the state of our nation is not a joking matter.
All of the nation’s ills have not been caused by the Obama administration. Republicans and their Democratic cohorts in Congress share in the blame, as they have patently refused to work together. Nonetheless, there is no denying the fact that the morale, attitude and outlook of this nation begin in the Oval Office.
But an even sadder commentary is the fact that the divide is greater with regard to race. NBC News, not the most conservative of media outlets, recently opined, “America’s racial divide not only remains but has deepened in many ways since Obama took office, despite hopes that President Obama’s election would usher in a ‘post-racial’ America.” Well it didn’t, so where do we go from here?
Americans must wait another year before we have a new occupant in the Oval Office. In the meantime, however, as we watch the candidates debate, argue and (hopefully) offer solutions, it might be wise to look for a candidate who is a unifier and not a divider and someone who focuses on the aspirational versus the confrontational.
My political inclinations are conservative, which means on issues such as fiscal responsibility, the military and foreign policy I definitely lean right. At the same time, however, I lean left on most social issues, which means there is no single candidate who embraces all of my beliefs, yet I must choose one — and that means compromise on some level.
Political philosophy is important but as Election Day 2016 approaches, unifying the nation may be the American imperative at this point in time. As voters it might be wise to temporarily suspend any political affiliation or ideology as we examine each candidates through the prism of who would make the best unifier.
So if unifying the nation is the goal, we might want to ascertain which candidate has the most consistent message, is trustworthy to a fault and has a proven record of getting things done.
Quote of the day: “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” — Michael Jordan
Butch Mazzuca, of Edwards, writes regularly for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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