Tag Archives: political discourse

These are insane times

The craziness of the current political climate is manifesting itself daily. Everywhere I look I see evidence of families being torn apart. Of friendships being lost. Of professional relationships being severed.

Why? Because of politics.

We have the politics of the pandemic. The politics of war and peace. The politics of abortion. The politics of voting rights.

I see evidence of all this playing out near and far from our home in North Texas. I hear about extended family members gnashing their teeth over whether to get vaccinated against the virus that is killing Americans to this very day. I hear about other family members not speaking to each other. Again, it has to do with vaccines.

What the hell … ?

I had more than a glimmer of hope that we could return to some semblance of normal disagreement when the 45th POTUS departed the White House for the final time this past January. Silly me. It ain’t happening … at least not yet.

I heard someone say the other day that even though the 45th POTUS is gone, the political cult he inspires remains in play. I believe POTUS 45 will stay gone. I also fear the cult that bears his name will continue to be a force in driving the political dialogue long after he has, um … flown away. 

It will show itself in damaged relationships. Whether it’s about vaccines, voting rights, abortion or any combination of hot-button issues, we are seeing a decay in the political climate.

It is stinky rotten and it is nowhere near the kind of world I want to leave for my sons or their families.

A former Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, said near the end of the 2012 campaign that “there’s more to life than politics.” Indeed. He was right. If only we could rediscover the big, beautiful world on which we should be building our relationships.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Yearning for a return to civility

I am a fan of civil political discourse, and of compromise when it can produce a common good, and of political adversaries remaining friends when the battle of the day has concluded.

Thus, I am yearning for a return — please pardon my borrowing a phrase coined by a former U.S. president — to a “kinder, gentler time” in American political life.

The late George H.W. Bush sought such a return when he took office in 1989. It was there, then it was gone.

It’s gotten much worse since Donald Trump entered political life in the summer of 2015. Indeed, he helped foment some of the intense anger even before then, feeding the Big Lie about President Barack Obama’s citizenship status, becoming the de facto godfather of the “birther” movement.

OK, he’s now the current president. The House of Representatives has impeached him. Trump is now getting ready to stand trial in the  Senate.

I won’t venture off the conventional wisdom trail here. I believe he will survive the trial. He will stay in office. Trump then will run for re-election and he will feed the intense anger that will continue to simmer and boil until Election Day 2020.

It’s my desire for a return to political civility, collegiality and comity that makes me yearn for his defeat next year. Trump has shown an unwillingness to bridge the divide among disparate Americans. Indeed, he seeks to widen it.

Thus, as he campaigns for re-election I fully expect the president to keep reminding us of the impeachment drama that is playing out at this moment. He will continue to hurl epithets at his foes. Trump will attach sophomoric nicknames to them. The president will seek to fuel the rage at the system that got him elected in the first place.

What if he wins? Oh, my! We’ll get four more years of practically everything I have just described. There likely will be a new wrinkle or three thrown in for good measure.

I’ll try to do my part to dial it back by refraining from some of the harsh rhetoric I have spouted in this forum since Trump crashed onto the political scene. Trump is a lead-pipe cinch, though, to test that pledge with what he is likely to say out loud over the course of the next year.

Take note: I haven’t hurled a single epithet at him in this post.

Hey, it’s a start. My hope springs eternal that we’ll be able to return sooner rather than later to a kinder, gentler political era.

2019 won’t see a return of civility

Civility and Politics Political Cartoon

Only the most naïve Pollyanna who ever lived is going to hold out hope that the new year, the new Congress and the looming presidential election is going to signal a return of political civility.

It ain’t gonna happen, man. You don’t need me to tell you the obvious.

Democrats who took control of the U.S. House of Representatives are loaded for bear. The president of the United States, who has hurled insults the way he might toss pebbles into a pond, has opened himself up to an aura of recrimination. Democrats are in no mood to go easy on Donald Trump. The subpoenas will be flying out of committee chairs’ offices quite soon.

A brand new House member has tossed an f-bomb at Trump, declaring the Democrats’ intent — she says — to impeach him.

The government is partially shut down because Trump wants $5 billion to build The Wall along our southern border. He’s accusing Democrats and the handful of Republicans who oppose The Wall of being for “open borders” and for coddling illegal immigrants at the expense of protecting Americans from the hordes of murderers, rapists, drug dealers and human traffickers he says are pouring into this country.

Is this how you make America great again? Is this how you unify a divided nation? Is this how you reach out to those who voted against you, and in Donald Trump’s case that’s more of them than those who voted for him?

I have tried to hold out a flicker of hope for a return to more civility. That hope is all but extinguished. The flicker has been blown out by all the angry hot air that’s been expelled by politicians who call their opponents “the enemy” or “evil” or any other vicious epithet you can imagine.

My hope once sprang eternal. No more.

Obama speaks fundamental truth about a statesman

I feel the need as the year winds down to share with you this video of Barack H. Obama eulogizing the late John S. McCain.

It’s about 19 minutes long. You need to set aside some time to watch it. I am gripped and saddened by the unspoken truth that the former president speaks about his former rival and how it reflects on the present day.

President Obama speaks at length about the differences he and Sen. McCain had between them. He speaks of when the two of them would meet in the Oval Office just to chat, “about policy . . . and about family.”

He tells us that even though the two of them held profoundly different world views that they both understood that “we are on the same team.”

I want to bring this to your attention yet again just to remind us all of what is missing in today’s discourse. The current president and many of our congressional leaders cannot seem to accept that they, too, are supposed to be on the same team. Have you heard Donald J. Trump say anything remotely like that? Or, for that matter, have you heard it from many of his foes on Capitol Hill?

The poison that has infected the current climate needs to be cleansed, wiped away. Will it disappear any time soon? Not likely.

I just hope there’s a residual sense of what Barack Obama recalled about John McCain left that it can someday be revived and returned.