I’m one of those people who make it a point to watch the 5:30 national newscasts everyday and it seems as though that’s all they talk about. Sure the economic troubles of our country are dominant as well, however, they never seem to be able to talk about the economy without attempting to place some sort of blame on a politician or an entire party for the troubles our country is in. Is it George W. Bush? Is it Barack Obama? Is it Alan Greenspan? Is it Bill Clinton? Is it the Democrats? Is it the Republicans? Etc. Etc. Etc.
In short, I’m beyond caring who is to blame for the current financial crisis our country is in, I just want to see both parties work together to fix it. However, if there is a constant in United States politics these days it seems to be one thing - bipartisanship. And it is exactly that which is slowing down any efforts or ideas that are made by our “leaders” to heal our country and move forward together as a nation.
It seems as though lately that the chasm between our two major parties is as wide as it has ever been, and this is the worst possible time for such a gap to exist. Aside from the economy, which is the problem that leads off most newscasts, does anyone remember the two wars that our country is fighting in the Middle East? Does anyone remember the healthcare issues that were so prominent in the presidential debates? How about our nation’s public school system that is badly in need of repair?
Most importantly, what happened to the promise that both presidential candidates made during their respective campaigns to reach across the aisle, extending an olive branch to the other party so that all these “petty differences” could be set aside, enabling both parties to work together to solve all these problems.
However, our Congress (at least in my lifetime) has never been one body working together. Rather it has been divided into two camps who seem driven to prove that any idea the other side has is a bad one.
I’m not taking sides anymore because both major parties are guilty. It has almost become comical to watch spokesmen for both parties deliver speeches ripping the ideas of their counterparts. How will we ever conquer our financial crisis, win our wars, and confront the countless other issues our nation faces unless we work together?
As I think about it now, maybe the best person to lead our country and oversee congress would be a football coach. Someone who doesn’t know squat about politics but will make sure we play as a team no matter what the circumstances may be. Someone who makes sure that the congressman who has the best idea - no matter what party he/she belongs to - has plenty of blockers in front of him so that he can carry his idea across the goal line.
The ironic part of this column is that I’m writing it in Louisiana. The state which has produced some of the most flamboyant politicians (Huey and Earl Long and Edwin Edwards) in the history of our country. We’ve also had our share of politicians which have made the news for all the wrong reasons (David Vitter, David Duke, and William Jefferson). But at least our politicians, if nothing else, aren’t boring.
What we seem to be watching on a national level is like a television rerun that we’ve seen over and over again.
And we can’t change the channel.
Howell Dennis is a native of Lafayette, La. He attended the University of Texas at Arlington where he graduated in journalism and public relations.