Rush Limbaugh on Family Guy got me thinking, mostly after listening to a caller to his show the next day who was thoroughly disappointed that Rush went on that "liberal show", that we're getting a wee bit too tribalized into left vs. right in our politics. We always used to talk a good game of liberal vs. conservative, but in the past it seems like we could at least come together after elections and get something done. Those days, it seems, are behind us.
Republicans came into power and the Democrats in the Senate start getting a little too eager to filibuster everything. Democrats come into power, and not to be outdone the Republicans are filibustering everything they can politically get away with. They even filibustered what was arguably the most economically conservative version of health care reform I've seen - before it was 'Obamacare' it was 'Romneycare' in MA for goodness sake!
Now we have another election in a month and everyone expects the Republicans will take back a good number of seats in both houses, maybe even getting a majority in one or both. Some on the left see this as a potentially apocalyptic moment. I don't. You know why? Because the Republicans won't get enough seats to be filibuster proof and we'll have another two years of nothing-get-done-in-DC.
Does anyone think that in our modern political era we could do something like the Apollo program from the 1960s?
What kind of bizarro world do we live in where Republicans would filibuster tax cuts for the middle class just because they don't also apply to the wealthiest 2%? I mean, you'd figure they'd go along with tax cuts now and then when they get back into power would push then for the next 2%. But that would require they, and the Democrats, not filibustering every little thing, or putting secret holds on everything.
The crazy part is both sides, when in the minority, get away with it! I'd like to blame the politicians but the flat honest truth is that they do it because we the people let them, and cheer them, when they do. The Left cheers for stopping a "fascist right-wing agenda" and the Right cheers for "slowing the slow decline into socialism". Both sides throw pictures around of the other side's figures with Hitler-esque moustaches, or make loud proclamations about how evil and untrustworthy the other side is.
It's great theater, but in the end it is our country that suffers. Our streets and bridges are crumbling, our schools are falling apart, levels of education are dropping and were it not for us importing smart people from other countries we'd be in far worse shape than we already are.
So here's my plea, from a self-described leftist, godless, socialist white-guy: Can we please tone down the rhetoric? Can we, both Left and Right, try to be a little bit more temperate and rational in our discourse? Can we stand for our principles while not insinuating the other side are a bunch of evil, unamerican, dangerous loons?