How do we find a middle ground again?

United States
May 31, 2007 6:59pm CST
I was born in 1959. My earliest memories are of an America unified and energized by the race for space and the idea of sending a man to the moon. We suffered a deep but unifying tragedy when JFK was shot, and I think that's the last time I can recall relative peace among the many factions that make up our society (with the noteworthy exception of an all-too-brief time after 9/11.) Viet Nam, Watergate, Iran-Conta, MLK, RFK, many different events have caused protest and debate, even violent uprising. I don't think any of that has been a greater threat to our Republic's survival than the insidious machinations of the paid professionals who run our political campaigns today. Somewhere back in the 80's, somebody figured out that it was easier to get people to vote for their candidate if they made them irrationally fear the opponent. No need to outline a vision or policies, just come up with the biggest boogeyman you can find and tie him around the other guy's neck! (Remember Willie Horton?) Since then, it seems every election cycle sinks to a new low in pandering, misinformation, and pointless examination and misinterpretation of the minutae of every candidate's life. Politicians and the hacks who get them elected spend tens of millions of dollars to make you afraid of....GASP!.... your next-door neighbor. They throw out red herrings like school prayer and abstinence so we don't put our heads together and figure out how badly they've screwed everything up. They whip up the right wingers by decrying how immoral the left is, and they whip up the left by talking about federal dollars for church-based programs. The media plays right along by exploiting the most inflammatory two sentences uttered by anyone, completely out of context. Lamentably, the American Electorate is collectively dumb as hell and falls for it every freakin' time. How do we get past this professionally-sown discord and distrust? How do we move past the artificial divides that serve the basest of political purposes? Throughout America, we all face genuine problems that threaten our kid's futures, our family's safety, our country's strength - and they have nothing to do with who your neighbor wants to marry or whether or not the words "under god" belong in the Pledge of Allegiance! The hell-hounds who bay a message of "hate your neighbor" are destroying the very fabric of American civic life, thread by thread. Can we shut them up and revive it, or are they singing our society's swan song?
1 person likes this
1 response
@Destiny007 (5820)
• United States
2 Jun 07
I have to agree with a lot of what coolseeds said. Too many people get their news and opinions from the TV and the so called pundits on both sides. America works best from the middle, where we are far enough right for law and decency and far enough left to make life easier on everyday folks. Too much government interference is not good, whether is is from social programs and the control that is demanded when you have to use them, or from the security side where big brother is watching everyone. Neither extreme is good. For some reason the politicians, or at least the pundits, seem to want a divided America. There are individuals whose livelihood depends on keeping racism alive, there are those who depend on the divisions caused by gay marriage, and there is a big drive on against what we are doing in Iraq. Politicians make promises that they can't keep, and no matter what party you vote for, you still don't know their stand on the issues or whether what they say they are for is the truth. I think that our society is in serious trouble, and a lot of it began with the Great Society and LBJ. We have become a nation of freeloaders who would rather be on welfare than work. We wait for the government to give us what we need instead of standing on our own. The TV does our thinking for us, and if it is on the news, then it must be true. A consensus of opinion is now considered to be scientific fact, when the reality is that it is still an opinion, just that now a lot of scientists agree with it. I really don't know if we can revive our country to it's previous state or not. I have my doubts.
1 person likes this
@coolseeds (3921)
• United States
2 Jun 07
You said: "I think that our society is in serious trouble, and a lot of it began with the Great Society and LBJ. We have become a nation of freeloaders who would rather be on welfare than work. We wait for the government to give us what we need instead of standing on our own. The TV does our thinking for us, and if it is on the news, then it must be true. " Well put. It is true. Some people would rather get $300 a month from the government and not work instead of work and earn $1200. I think it is a shame. I own a company and can not find reliable people to work. They would rather be broke than work. I can see if we lived in a different society. One where we grew our own food and built our shelter. But those days are long gone.
1 person likes this
• United States
3 Jun 07
grrl...In my opinion we have only had 2 really good presidents in my lifetime. They are Kennedy and Reagan. Kennedy was a democrat and Reagan started out as one. Today Kennedy would be considered a conservative, although I don't know how he was viewed when he was alive. That is how far our country has slid to the left. While I am sure there were some good presidents, a lot of them have been mediocre or downright bad for the country. I think Social Security was a bad idea, but I can't complain since I am disabled and depend on it for my income...although I am eligible for a veterans pension if I decide to pursue it. What is even worse though, are the one's who keep getting re-elected to Congress year after year. These people are more damaging to our country that anything any one president could ever do. Even with term limits, they just switch between the Senate and House, and we are still stuck with them until they retire or die. This is not how our government was intended to work, and that is why it is no longer for and of the people, because the ones being elected don't even have a clue as to how the people live or the real issues involved. All we hear is the rhetoric from both sides, and no truth. I think the terms should be limited to 8 years and then they are done. There is no reason for anyone to be in Congress for 30 or 40 years. This is why our country has so many problems, those elected are completely out of touch with the real issues.
1 person likes this
• United States
3 Jun 07
I'm with 100% there, Des. One of the biggest problems with our government is that the fools in Congress never have to go home and live with what they've wrought like everyone else. Meaningful term limits, that limit lifetime service in both houses, and profound campaign finance reform are critical if we're to come up with something workable for our children and grandchildren to use for governance. I'm pretty sure a lot of people thought JFK was a screaming liberal at the time, because of his stance on civil rights. Not to get all in your business, but those who stepped up and risked themselves for freedom should be first in line to get what they need. If there's VA benefits that would help you, I'd like to ask you to take advantage of them, as a taxpayer. 'Nuff said!