Political ignorance brings no bliss
We here in America have a listening problem. No, not the old “Eh, what did you say, sonny?” hearing problem. It is the one that can be summed up in the old saying that “ignorance is bliss.” We already know that the latter statement is false more times than not.
Over this past year, as America has hit a rough patch, it has become evident that we are hearing only what we wish to hear, like a child who does not want to go to bed. This is not only in our general society but in our government as well.
The business of politics is a sensitive business, no doubt. The manner in which the United States is to be run is no light matter. There always will be disagreements in the world of politics. That is how the political party system of America was born when this country was in its very infancy.
Though we are still young in age, how do you think we have survived for 233 years? Compromise. We have had disagreements as to how the United States should be run for its entire duration, but we have almost always been able to compromise enough to keep the Union intact.
The one time that we failed to compromise, what happened? The turbulent American Civil War from 1861-1865. It was in those five years that we learned just what kind of nation we were. We learned that we must find a way to reconcile our differences or forever be torn apart by hate and malice. It was then that we found that, as Abraham Lincoln said, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”
In the plight of the health care reform debate, we again find ourselves divided. Not as bad as the mid 19th century when slavery was the big elephant in the living room but one that has still managed to pit American against American on a smaller scale.
Just as we in society must be willing to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and remove the blindfold of ignorance before we judge, so to must our government. Today’s officials need to be reminded that, though they may bear the title of Democrat, Republican, Independent or Green, they are still American politicians. In the end, they are part of the same team. They need to realize this.
What both sides of the spectrum, both Democrats and Republicans, must do is be willing to listen to the other side. We have allowed ourselves to become so divided over this matter. We also seem to have issues with the fact that President Barack Obama is indeed the president. We seem to be losing the perspective of who we really are.
We are not Democrats and Republicans. We are Americans. We are represented by the same flag, song and country. Yes, we have our differing views on the role of government in our lives but that is no excuse to act like spoiled children, whether you are a civilian or a congressman.
To be frank, we have been acting like children and lunatics, from a Congressman shouting at the president during a speech to people comparing the Obama administration to Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Both parties have been guilty of mudslinging. That is not the America I know. The America that I know is based on logic and debate, not hearsay and malicious accusations.
What we need to do, civilians and politicians alike, is listen to one another. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Right now we are on two opposite poles on two different fronts.
The first front is the health care reform front. There are those that believe that it is a matter of equality and morality. There are those that think that it is a conspiracy to have more government regulation in our lives.
The second front is President Obama’s administration itself. Some think he is the answer to all of the nation’s problems and others think that he is a socialist.
What we need to do is find common ground on these issues. You do not have to like President Obama but at least respect the fact that he is our President. He is the American president. Not the Democratic party president but the American president.
As for health care reform, we need to be able to work together to find a solution. Congress needs more bipartisanship and the American public needs more understanding of the issue. Ignorance is not so blissful after all.
In my last column, I mentioned the idea of having one heartbeat. That’s what we need in this country today. We need to have that one focus of making America even better than it is today. We must come together so that we are not torn apart.
The time for being childish and unreasonable is over. It is time to act like the men and women that we are, and deal with our differences as mature, responsible adults. It is time to put our country before ourselves.
Matt Kushi is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.