Thursday, January 21, 2010

Un-united States of America

For the past ten years, I've been waiting for politicians and political pundits to stop acting like three-year-old protecting a toy in the sandbox.

It hasn't happened.

Yes, I know we're not supposed to talk about politics. Nor are we supposed to talk about religion, but I'm noticing we're talking about both - slyly, for our own agendas - quite a bit.

I've been studying the history of Santa Fe, NM. The Spanish - for all their faults (which were many!) - were able to intermarry and coexist relatively peacefully with the natives, Africans and other groups that were either already in the territory or came to it. That is part of our legacy as Americans. Unfortunately, I still do not see this as the mainstream course of action. People seem to like to fight. Often and loudly.

What happened to respect thy neighbor? What happened to offering someone the dignity of listening to their opinion without talking over them? While I may like my ideas better, they are mine, not yours. And it's relatively rare that I will be able to change anyone's views, whether it be on something as trivial as cereal brands or as major as the environmental legislation that has stalled in D.C. That's OK as long as we can recognize a common goal: leaving our country better.

I am quickly moving from frustration to fear. Our country is polarizing on two opposite ends of the political spectrum; each feels its camp has all the right answers. This is the exact fiasco Abraham Lincoln warned against: "Nearly all men can withstand adversity; If you want to test a man's character, give him power."

But perhaps the most apropos quote is the one by Gore Vidal: "Politics is made up of two words. 'Poli' which is Greek for 'many,' and 'tics,' which are bloodsucking insects."

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