At dinner the other night, I asked a GOP friend who follows @realDonaldTrump on Twitter how he thinks things are going. "Are you kidding me?" he responded. He then expressed disappointment at the poor and divisive way things seem to be turning out in American politics. It was a poor choice of topic for a dinner conversation, as it unleashed some serious angst over what resembles buyer's remorse in those many friends of mine who are both well-educated and financially successful. The mild concern that POTUS won't evolve into being presidential has morphed into outright alarm as my friends are beginning to mirror the panicky hyperventilation seen in Democrats.
The recent G20 meeting in Germany hasn't done much to improve the growing unease in America, not to mention the exacerbating medical insurance crisis, the chest-thumping over Syria and North Korea, and the way POTUS agrees with Russia's president over how nasty the press is to the two of them (although, so far, POTUS doesn't appear to be considering murdering press people as is alleged to occur in the Kremlin).
Before we all jump off a cliff into utter despair, allow me to shed some refreshing sunshine on this darkly perceived political sky, starting with the G20 meeting. For starters, while Russia's Putin was quick to say that Trump agreed with him that there was no proof of Russian meddling in the U.S. election, our own officials quickly refuted it. Score one for sunshine. Also, while Trump stood his ground in opposition to the Paris climate accord, Germany's Chancellor Merkel didn't let the G20 tradition of forced unanimity keep her and the other great countries from effectively becoming the G19 in solidarity for the Paris Agreement. As an American, you might feel a little left out, but as a citizen of the world, sunshine won again. Even Trump managed a refreshingly cordial tweet: "The #G20Summit was a wonderful success and carried out beautifully by Chancellor Angela Merkel. Thank you!"
So, watching Trump-the-chest-thumper and Trump-the-G20-diplomat, are we on a road to perdition or salvation? I suggest we check with Karl Rove. As you might recall, Rove was a senior advisor and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush. If you go back to the early 2000s, you will find plenty of Democratic handwringing about the evil Rove, just as they now complain about Trump's advisor Steve Bannon. Like Bannon, Rove was often referred to as Bush's brain. He was connected with the West Wing that lost 22 million emails, many of which were supposed to prove that Sadam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.
Oh? Thanks to Jason Chaffetz, you thought email malaise was only a Hillary problem. Nope. Bush and Rove set the standard for lost emails. OK, bygones. Today, Rove runs the conservative political action committee American Crossroads and is a successful writer who, interestingly enough, recently wrote a phenomenally calming column in The Wall Street Journal on how history shows that left- and right-wing divisiveness always resolves itself, and that "The U.S. specializes in comebacks."
He wrote, "the country has been deeply divided before, but it always manages to pull itself together," citing "practical common sense." Then he gave evidence that this is so. Drawing on his recent book research, he found that in the five presidential elections leading up to 1896, not one of the winners had a majority of votes and that, in 1888, Democrats were so ticked off that they refused to answer congressional roll calls, denying a quorum to get anything done for months.
So, here we are again. Like those terrible four years in our political past when there was a 100 percent GOP president, House and Senate for two years and another two years when all three were in Democratic hands—and half our citizens were filled with dread. But, as we now know, America always recovers. To do it again, it requires most of us on both sides to simply get a grip. Sit down. Take few deep breaths. Go to an air-conditioned movie theater and watch a comedy. Chill.
Will hard-core Democrats recognize you are being self-destructive when you alienate low-income job seekers who are really afraid of your revolutionary rhetoric? Will you right-wing Republicans stop scaring single moms who cannot afford both a one-bedroom apartment and a child's health care? Compromise really is better for all Americans.
In Utah, where Gov. Herbert hypes our great economy, let's expand discussions beyond homelessness and air quality (important issues, but not the only ones) and consider the plight of rural citizens who have no idea what they will do when more coal jobs are gone. Those of us who grew up in the spirit of compromise need to educate the hundreds of ideologue delegates in each of the parties who seem to prefer screaming at each other rather than heal America.
I know, based on our history, that all of this craziness will pass—across America and here in Utah. We Americans of all political stripes are proud of our comebacks. The ideological left and the ideological right, it is hoped, will find their respective Zen, and responsible adults from both sides will join together and, dare I say it, make America great once again.
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