Republicans and Democrats have more in common than they realize; they live under a constitution that allows them to agree to disagree. But nothing in our traditions and laws ever allowed persons with opposing views to belittle, berate or intimidate the other. I am appalled at what I see in the media today. Additionally, if anyone ever told me that our country would resort to the political propaganda common in the old Soviet Union during the cold war, I would have laughed. I could never imagine elected officials making crass comments about our elected president, and commander in chief, many of them derogatory terms that would have them before ethics committees in most state bar association’s whom many belong. America is a Republic and therefore by its very nature can only work if various factions align to support a common platform. No party may continually ignore the people from which they seek to entice to their side. Yet the Republicans move toward extreme political views: Pro-life, to the exclusion of any choice by a woman, even one who was raped; the continued erosion of the social security system, even to the extent of leaving entire families homeless; and align toward the privatization of health care reform, where the rich may have whatever life-saving operations that they can afford, and the poor not any. While the Democrats stagnate in their opponents lack of congruity, and dying support amongst the growing masses of minorities–who for the moment have banded together under one umbrella. The multitude of these various factions, when incited, will tear apart the democrats from the inside out when the right issue arises. Regardless, even when the Republicans go by the way of the Bull Moose, and Whig Party, there will still be controversy, and issues others will agree to disagree with. The only way the political system will keep America moving is if its learned members adhere to a set of values, social mores, and principles, that has kept it well oiled all of these years; separation of church and state does not mean abandonment of religious tenets–“In God We Trust”–was chosen by our founding fathers at a time when it separated ecumenical law from the rule of law; loving thy neighbor as thyself, and a belief that service to the community was the greatest service a citizen could aspire while keeping with capitalistic ideals–that promoted individual achievement and reward. It is not hard to imagine what will happen if they do not; just look around at the mudslinging, and the misguided attempts at tampering with the voting system that is already happening. Wake up America. People with diverse views and backgrounds, can get along, even if it is to disagree with each other. And they can still be civil about it in an ordered society.
Roger and I lived together in our first year law. He was from Montana; a handsome man, ten years younger, a white-supremist, and very far right. I was from a small town in New England, and the most notable liberal in the newest law school in the backdrop of conservatism, Rhode Island. Roger and another classmate were drinking coffee, and heatedly discussing politics in the kitchen,while I watched the Ellen DeGeneres Show on the television in the living room. I turned up the volume. When Ellen came out of the closet on national television that night, Roger and his friend were leaning over my chair, cups in hand, shaking their heads from side to side, and grinning. They never sat down. They watched the entire program in silence. During the summer break, I met Hank, and moved out of the apartment Roger and I had shared on Wall Street near downtown Bristol. When I was made Editor-In-Chief of the law school magazine, I asked Roger to be my Executive Editor. He accepted. Our articles often presented views that pitted our polarized, political beliefs against each other. We remained civil to each other in our arguments, and I never cut anything from his articles, no matter how opposed I was to his views. Readers were often incensed with Rogers views and his many articles on racial issues, and gun control, and an equal number, if not many more, blasted mine. Our magazine drew criticism from the conservative student body, distinguished faculty, and it raised a few eyebrows in the community. The free press is essential in a free society–one that is free of obscurity, misleading information, and slanted views. Here a news magazine with its free exchange of ideas presented in a fair, ethical, and clear manner, without the rhetoric of name calling, grandstanding, and deliberate misrepresentation proved to be successful. Our magazine was named runner up in the American Bar Association’s contest for best law school magazine, behind Tulane. Roger and I remained friends, and we were always civil with each other throughout our arguments, despite our opposing views. Republicans and Democrats should take heed. In controversy, there is always common ground; a love for the traditional notions of fair play, substantial justice, and preservation of the truth in reporting to the people. The libertarians, and Tea-toting Republican’s of a different name, and those many parties advocating for social responsibility, who have thus far remained civil, respectful and fair in their presentation of their platforms, may yet win over the hearts of the American people, and make the current leaden parties obsolete.
What do you think?