The biggest obstacle that President-elect Barack Obama faces in his quest to unite America comes from partisans on both sides of the political fence.
Some Democrats already bitch that Obama’s picks aren’t liberal enough. Republicans complain he is too liberal and independents still don’t know what to make of the first African-American President in this nation’s history.
Partisans represent a pox on the political and governmental system. Be they Democratic or Republicans, partisans care only for their side of the ideological fence and have no desire for coalition building, unity or putting what’s best for the county ahead of their own petty needs.
The daunting problems facing America today will not be solved by outlawing abortion or legalizing gay marriage. Such issues are minor itches when compared to the festering sores of the economy and the war in Iraq.
Partisan politics has long been an enemy to efficient government and a reasonable resolution to the problems facing America.
Partisans, by and large, are lemmings incapable of independent thought or rationality. They follow lockstep behind the leaders of whatever cause that stirs their passions and view the world through the narrow view of limited-issue politics.
Rational debate becomes impossible because partisans cling to the illusionary view that their position on any given issue is the only opinion that matters. Those on the right follow misinformation-spouting prophets like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity while the left accepts equal amounts of propaganda from Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow.
Neither side wants truth. They only want pabulum that supports their own uninformed view of the world.
So how can Obama overcome this tsunami of partisanship? It won’t be easy. Democratic partisans cling to the fantasy that the November election was only about George W. Bush and his Republican cronies when, in fact, the American people sent a clear message that they want a change in the system, a system where both the right and the left have conspired to destroy a simple notion called democracy.
Obama may have made his task more difficult by picking key players in past debacles to serve in his cabinet or as senior aides. Perhaps his leadership and powerful personality will be enough to change the attitudes of those who served past abuses of the system so well. Only time will tell.
But his task will always be difficult as long as partisans put party above country and personal agendas above patriotism.
Until they are willing to stop thinking of themselves as Democrats or Republicans or Libertarians or whatnot and start thinking of themselves only as Americans, these pathetic partisans represent a far greater threat to the future of this nation than any Islam-spouting fanatic with a bomb.