No matter who wins, we must stand united
By Earl Fischer September 11, 2012 4:36PM
Updated: October 14, 2012 12:26PM
Just 55 days to go, and then what? After the November elections, whatever the outcome, “we the people” will have to come together again.
I mean, really together, not split down the middle as we have been for the past 12 years. Both locally and in Washington, the partisan divide must be put aside so everyone can talk candidly, listen to one another and begin to solve problems together again.
“Four years ago, I know that many Americans felt a fresh excitement about the possibilities of a new president,” Mitt Romney said in his speech accepting the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. “Americans always come together after elections.”
We did, for the most part, until the beginning of this millennium, when it took the Supreme Court to declare a new president. The wars, then the economy brought greater and greater division.
Ironically, the hoped-for change that brought Barack Obama into office was the widespread desire on both sides of the divide to restore national unity. But that goal has eluded President Obama, the current Congress and the American people. Now both sides say it’s time for hope and change, and neither side trusts the other.
Forwarded emails keep coming to me from Joliet friends on the far right, lambasting Obama in just about every way imaginable. Friends on the far left blast every word and move on the right that smacks of favoritism for the 1 percent.
Asking someone I believe holds a fairly open mind politically, I was advised not to waste my time fact-checking because it’s already being done — with answers online often ranging from “liar, liar” to “pants on fire.” It seems there’s not much to be believed anymore. And those who disagree with assessments given never believe the fact checkers anyway.
“You may find this both interesting and disturbing,” I emailed a friend on the left.
“This looks like junk to me, Earl. I’m immediately on edge reading anything from a black conservative. He sounds like the kind of person that will say anything and get huge funding from the Republican base — and not feel any concern about the immense harm he brings to 99 percent of his race,” the friend replied.
“It’s tough being a centrist,” I shot back. “I can’t regard anyone’s communication as junk (or the writer as uncaring) unless I have the facts to back up that assessment. The trouble is, I don’t have the time or ability to fact-check everything I read, and there’s no fact-check source I fully trust.”
I believe fear is driving angry outbursts on both sides — fear of Obama’s perceived “otherness” in various ways on one side, and fear of Romney’s alleged insensitivity to the 99 percent on the other.
Here’s how we must come together after the elections. Republicans must free themselves of the Norquist Pledge against raising taxes. Democrats must be more willing to find ways to cut costs. Congressional representatives of both parties and the president must work together realistically to improve, not scuttle, Obamacare and make it truly Ourcare.
If they don’t do it on their own, we the people who elected them. must see that they do.
In the words of Mitt Romney again: “We’re a good and generous people, and we are united by so much more than divides us.”
Let’s prove it.
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