Framing the Dialogue

Divided We Fail

I had an epiphany this morning.  Well maybe it was not a true epiphany, but something struck me.  I am a fairly conservative guy working in a field dominated by left-leaning individuals.  On many issues, we do not see eye-to-eye.  In fact, I do not even feel completely comfortable when they know about my conservative beliefs.  There are not many of us there.  We do not have a secret handshake, but it is nice when you are around someone with beliefs like your beliefs.

I do not want you to get the impression that I work in an armed encampment or that I slink around hiding my identity.  I have recognized that I do not have to convince everyone to think like me.  I spend a lot of time with these folks and we are all very much alike.  We have families, houses, debts, problems, hobbies, etc.  Even though we have some different views, we are more alike than different.

Back to my epiphany.  I think that there is a conspiracy among politicians to divide the citizens and conquer us.  Think about it.  When we are divided, they get to do pretty much anything they want.  If you hate President Bush you will support any politician and their crazy ideas as long as you beat Bush.  The other side thinks President Obama is at least a socialist and maybe even a Marxist so they will oppose him at every step.

Back in the 1980s Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill had monumental battles with President Reagan.  They traded nasty gibes with each other.  Reagan wrote about their battles in his memoir.  He is quoted as saying “before 6 PM it’s all politics.”  The story also says that “after six” they were always cordial and even had dinner together.  What are the chances that Speaker Pelosi goes out to dinner with President Bush?

When did things turn?  I blame William Jefferson Clinton.  Just kidding, but that seems to be about when things started dividing the citizens.  I grew up in a large city and you can rightfully assume that we were all Democrats in our family and our community.  This city is still run by Democrats and I am not sure if the Republicans even exist. 

I broke away from the norm and grew into a conservative.  I did not like President Clinton and had some lively discussions with my Dad.  I remember one evening after President Clinton looked fate in the eye (i.e. the stained blue dress) and admitted to having sexual relations with “that woman.” 

I had my chance to gloat about Clinton’s obvious finger-wagging lie to my Dad.  The subject came up and he said something that absolutely stunned me.  He said what President Clinton did with Monica (and the cigar) was not sex.  That floored me.  My mother was sitting there and I just looked at her.  That was the last time I ever talked politics with my Dad. 

How did we get so divided?

The perfect storm happened in 2000 with the election of George W. Bush.  That’s right, he was elected (read the New York Times article here – Yes the NYT admitted that Bush won).  Liberal Bush Derangement Syndrome kicked into high gear.  Their hatred of President Bush made the conservative distaste of Clinton look like kindergarten.  I did not hate Clinton, I just did not trust him.  I still don’t.

Look at what is going on in our country today.  The federal government is growing more powerful and intrusive.  The government hoard is at the gate and we citizens are divided. 

God help us!


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