John & Joe - Meet the Press

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Meet the Press host Tim Russert, brought Senators Joe Biden (D) and John McCain (R) together for a dialogue. It was a preeminently respectful, thoughtful, good natured, and intelligent exchange of thoughts and ideas. I was truly impressed to find two politicians, on either side of the aisle, able and willing to engage in civil discourse over the issues of the day. You can find the transcript here.

One of the most intriguing ideas brought forth was a John Kerry - John McCain ticket. Both Biden and McCain agreed that the rift between Americans, the chasm between politicians in Congress along party lines, and the divide between Red and Blue states across our nation's map, is injurious to our system, to our efforts to solve problems, and to our citizenry. Thus, Sen. Biden proposed a John-John ticket. Sen. McCain categorically denied that he would even consider such a proposal as viable but, because he believes in his role as Senator.

This exchange from two highly respected Senators highlights the importance of the November elections and the responsibility voters have in the ballot box. It would seem that for millions of voters, party is more important than policy. Following is preferred to leading. And acrimony is desired over solutions born of compromise and debate. Having heard Conservatives like Inhofe state that his outrage over the abuses in Abu Ghraib stems from the fact that there was outrage at all, is bewildering, unless, the statement was devised as a defensive posture for the party loyalists. MoveOn.Org's recent emailing implying President Bush could single handedly be responsible for an impending global warming threat of biblical proportions, is obviously a feast of political ploy with only a dash of truth imperceptibly thrown in. This November, it is more important than ever before, that voters vote candidates, not parties, if Sen.'s Biden and McCain's hopes for a more unified nation are to come to pass.

Following the party line, is infinitely easier than thinking for oneself. And thus sheep are made of men and women by the millions of both parties. Will the country be better off if I vote against my party? That is a tough question. Will the country be better off in view of history, if I vote with my party? Another tough question for 10's of millions of voters. But, thinking through those questions and casting ballots based on one's best effort to honestly answer those questions, is really the only hope America has for ending this horrendous divide that is beginning to tear at the integrity of our nation. In a democracy, it is the voters who lead, and the politicians who are obligated to follow the will of the people within the constraints of our Constitution. When politicians reverse democracy such that they lead and the public willingly or begrudgingly follows, democracy itself is threatened.

Politicians have a neat trick in their bag. It is called acrimony. Disagreement in a sharp and bitter manner is the great hoodwink of our U.S. Congress. For what is gained by politician's engaging in acrimony as evidenced by the likes of Sen. Ted Kennedy and Representative Tom Delay, is accountability. When politicians feel they don't have the answer to an issue, they easily hide it by displaying acrimonious barbs at their opponents to hide the fact. When the President endorses commercials against John Kerry claiming Kerry will raise your taxes, or that Kerry never met a tax he wouldn't raise, he is engaging in acrimony to hide the fact that he has mortgaged our future paychecks and raised our future payroll taxes for decades to come in order to resolve a mild recession before election time. When Democrats assail the President with implications of being dumb and dumber, they are hiding the fact that they alone are responsible for gross inefficiencies in the spending of our tax dollars when they held the reins of power. Beware the politician that doth protest too much! (or too acrimoniously). It often means they haven't a clue as to how to make things better.

But the ballot box issue is really not that difficult. In fact, if a citizen puts their thinking cap on for just 1 hour before going to the polls, sits down, draws a line down the middle of a piece of paper and on the left jots down all that is wrong with our society and needs mending, and on the right, all that is right with our society and should be left alone, the process of deciding whether to vote for an incumbent or an opponent, will be a much clearer choice. After such a review, if indecision is still troublesome, the old standby question: "Are we better off today than we were 2 or 4 years ago?" will almost always serve as a trusty guide.

In November, we can act like sheep for the sake of mental laziness, or we can stand and vote as proud Americans who choose to lead rather than be led. I do not live in either Sen. Biden's or McCain's districts, but, I would commend them to those who will decide on their incumbency in November. But, my commendations should be of value to none but myself. We all have our own criteria for judging who will best serve our interests in government, if only we would exercise our right and ability to assess them independently of what others want us to think, especially those in our party of affiliation. Political parties serve only one master, power to win, and we voters are, contrary to first appearance, only pawns in their game of strategy. Be not a pawn of political chess. Be not a sheep led to shearing by political parties. Act as a proud American and vote with a conscience of your own, and a true American you will be, supporting a future for a true democracy in our great land.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on May 17, 2004 4:16 PM.

War on Terror and Political Parties was the previous entry in this blog.

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