As a body politic, we remain stuck in diametrically opposed positions as an artifice for distinction or differentiation.  This polarity is based on the fear that variance from the party line will result in ostracism and lack of support and votes, if one is a candidate.  This fear compels people to stand for things that the party generally holds even when endorsing it runs counter to common sense and personal integrity.  A byproduct of this hypocrisy is lying, deceit, and intentional mischaracterization of the opposition.  We are stuck!

This absurdity explains the recklessness of war, the neglect of the poor in favor of the wealthy, the allowance of corporations to be citizens, the disproportionate incarceration of black males and many and sundry other inequitable and unethical policies and procedures.  We continue these shenanigans because they are easy and convenient, despite their brutality and misanthropic effects.  How can we escape from such perniciousness and forge a society whose denizens concentrate on building solidarity among the citizenry, helping folks have productive and meaningful lives, and working to eliminate poverty and disease at home and abroad?

The masses of people have to recognize the folly in our youthful, yet originally promising, republic, and build a movement that emphasizes compassion, humaneness, and the best possible.  The intense difficulty of maintaining this coalition is understandable, but the fierce urgency of the situation requires immediate action.  We are spiraling down a road of repeated government shutdowns because compromise means betrayal and bipartisanship is rare.

Today’s leaders seem unable to discern that any given issue has a variety of response options.  Very little is purely right or wrong, and having an opinion about something should not preempt the ability to engage in mature discussion.  Filibustering and other tactics are not noble affairs as depicted in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; rather, they are childish maneuverings that make a mockery of what it means to have dialogue and to lead.

Knowing when to concede is a skill that is seldom practiced in the halls of government.  For example, failing a promise to eliminate tax breaks for the wealthy and to use part of the money to ensure much-needed social programs do not get unduly excised are actions that do not exemplify good decision-making.  Instead, it is simply a matter of not keeping one’s word.  It was a concession at the wrong time: many people are in dire need of federal assistance in an economic recession and the wealthy are not numbered among them.  The decision Pres. Obama made in December 2010 to extend the gratis to the exorbitantly rich seemed to breach his being on the square, so to speak, and to result in a loss of integrity.

He was so stuck in the political malaise we have in this country that he made a concession in the eleventh hour he definitely claimed he would never do.  Would that Obama kept his word about not giving the dole to the wealthiest as he did about ferreting out and killing Osama bin Laden!

About mdbwell

Pres., Project for the Beloved Community, Inc.; B.A.--Wesleyan University; M.Div.--Yale University; Ph.D.--Boston University; Summer Study--Harvard University; Social ethicist; Ordained minister; Advocate for the poor
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