United We Stand, Divided We Fall. (Cast my vote for United.)

Posted by Dave

“It ain’t over ’till the fat lady sings.” Or, as Yogi Berra once said (with his usual illogical-logic), “It ain’t over ’till it’s over.” But the trouble is – in American politics today – it ain’t ever really over.

The machinations may not be played out as publicly as they were in the “hanging chad” debacle of the 2000 presidential election, but you can bet that across the fruited plain, would-be congressmen, senators, governors, and yes – even presidents – are poring over yesterday’s exit polls and vote tallies to plot the strategies that they hope will sweep them into office, next time around. The races for 2010 and 2012 begin now.

Which is too bad for joes like me, ’cause I’m sick of the whole thing. I’m tired of spin doctors, attack ads, and endless empty promises (which at least have the virtue of being cheaper than endless fulfilled promises.) I’m fed up with rabid partisans, especially of the pundit class, who see our country only in terms of “us” and “them.” According to these guys, the U.S. map is a collection of red and blue states.

What a bunch of cow wabunga! My particular county of my supposedly red state is decidedly blue. Closer to home, my neighborhood is about evenly split. Even my own personal ballot is usually a mix of so-called “red” and “blue.” So I don’t buy into the divisiveness that compartmentalizes our nation into “us” and “them.” I may disagree with the votes some of my neighbors and family members make, but they remain my neighbors and family. We are all still “us” – at least, as far as I’m concerned (and I hope they feel the same.)

My wife Gina has a friend, a grandmother whose child went through nasty divorce. The grandma continues to maintain cordial relations with the ex-spouse. Why? For the sake of her grandchildren, and to ensure her ability to be involved in their lives, she is willing to assume that the ex ultimately wants what is best for the kiddos. Thus, despite all that separates them, they can both agree on doing right by the grandchildren.

What our nation needs (and has needed for decades) are politicians who are willing – for the sakes of all our grandchildren – to do the same thing as Gina’s friend. They must see the whole country as “US” – spelled “U.S.” Sure, 300 million Americans are never going to agree on everything, but true statesmen always seem to find a way to appeal to our better instincts – to the “us” in all of us. And that kind of leadership transcends “red” and “blue.” Anyone running for office on that platform is guaranteed to get my vote. I just hope they declare themselves soon.

Otherwise, that fat lady is going to be singing for us. And friends, she’s warming up her vocal cords – right now.


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