This country heads into the second half of a Presidential election year a divided nation – divided by war, philosophical differences, political parties, race, religion and societal lines.
We are a nation pitted against itself, threatened by ever-deepening canyons of division. Reasoned political debate is all but impossible. Differing political opinions are too often greeted with derision.
We know. Capitol Hill Blue has been a contributing factor to the divisiveness, a willing co-conspirator to the deterioration of civility in political debate, a bomb thrower of heated rhetoric.
As the publisher of this web site, I have called the President of the United States a war criminal, a mass murderer and an American Hitler. I’ve used just about every hate-filled name possible to describe other elected officials.
I thought such rhetoric made a point. It did: The wrong point.
America cannot survive as a divided nation. America cannot pull itself out of the doldrums if acerbic accusations replace action. America cannot survive if we fight ourselves instead of our enemies and our problems.
The tone has to change. The rhetoric has to cool. We have to heal ourselves if we are to heal the problems that threaten our nation.
I disagree strongly with some, but not all, of the positions and actions of President George W. Bush. I believe the Democratic leadership of Congress has, for the most part, failed to deliver on promises made in the 2006 mid-term elections. I believe change is absolutely necessary to address the many problems this nation faces.
But we cannot change the system with rancor, we cannot initiate change through hate and we cannot save this nation by tossing out verbal brickbats instead of useful solutions.
Political leaders and bloggers trekked over the weekend to Austin, Texas, for what has become an annual gathering of Internet activists – the Netroots. But in reading too many of the blogs that have reported on the gathering, I see too much of the old rhetoric, the same expressions of hate, the usual obscenity-laced tirades.
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.
Change cannot come from stringing together dirty words, cute nicknames for our elected leaders and emotional, but meaningless tirades against the "system." Change comes the people who get up every morning and go to work at jobs keep this nation going. Those same people initiate changes at the ballot box by expressing their frustration at those they feel have led their town, city, country, state or nation down the wrong path.
I saw that change last year in my tiny Blue Ridge Mountain community when voters tossed out every incumbent with an opponent for local offices in the Republican primary and then solidified that change in the fall election by tossing out even more. We saw that change in 2006 when voters changed the leadership of Congress.
But change can get lost in a political season dominated by name calling, outright racism, blatant hypocrisy and raunchy rhetoric.
Change cannot be driven by those who think of themselves primarily as Republicans or Democrats, liberals or conservatives, right or left. Change can only come from those who leave their political baggage at the door and remember that they are, first and foremost, Americans who put the best interests of their country above all other consideration.
Change starts with each of us. I believe I can bury my anger and change my approach to work towards healing the deep divisions in this nation. I believe I can change this web site to be an agent of positive change.
Care to join us?