COLUMN: Time to bury the hatchet
The Bible says that, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). The long, costly, hard-fought 2012 election campaign has ended.
As the American Indians used to say: It’s time to bury the hatchet; it’s time to smoke the peace-pipe. But, can we put the partisan politics of the past behind us and find common ground? A recent comic strip had one character telling the other: “The election is over; now get a life.” Good advice.
Due in part to non-stop cable network news, we are bombarded with information about politics. In the old days, we got most of our news from the three major television networks, CBS, NBC and ABC, which broadcast a half-hour or an hour a day; the news anchormen on these networks tried to be as objective and nonpartisan as possible.
Today, each cable news channel has either a strong liberal bias or a strong conservative bias, and they exaggerate our differences.
Those who watch one channel get only one side of the story. You can usually tell which political party and candidate a person likes or dislikes by the cable news program he watches.
Some people get very angry after viewing these programs.
We should avoid people and programs which foment anger and hatred.
We need to loosen up, lighten up, regain our sense of humor. Instead of watching a 24-hour a day cable news channel, we should go see a comedic play or movie, read a book, magazine or newspaper, have a discussion with a person whose opinions are different from our own.
There are things that are more important than politics: our faith, our family, our friends, our local communities, helping the poor, caring for pets, protecting wildlife and the environment and respecting other persons, come to mind.
Although the 2012 election is history, some people are still writing letters to the editor making the same arguments they made during the campaign. It’s as if the election never happened!
America has become like a galley ship in which the oarsmen on one side of the ship are rowing in one direction, and the oarsmen on the other side of the ship are rowing in the opposite direction – both sides rowing hard, but the ship is getting nowhere.
To achieve anything, the crew on our ship of state needs to start rowing in the same direction.
The United States is a republic, or representative democracy, with essentially a two-party system – the Democratic and the Republican parties.
Without having a choice between (at least) two political parties, we would be no better than the one-party dictatorships and totalitarian regimes that we condemn. Democrats should thank Republicans, and Republicans should thank Democrats for their essential role in perpetuating our democracy.
In a free and fair election, the candidates of the party that receive the most votes win, and the candidates of the other party lose. The people have spoken, and everyone should accept the results. This is the way that political power is peacefully transferred in a democracy.
We talk a lot about freedom. But, we can’t have much freedom without government, e.g., the military to protect us from hostile foreign powers, and the police to protect us from domestic evildoers.
As the British political philosopher Thomas Hobbes wrote: “Life in a state of nature (without government) is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”
Our government was established to secure freedom and the other ideals set forth in the Constitution. Each of us ought to rededicate ourselves to those ideals, most notably: Liberty, Equality, Justice and Peace.
We need to remember that hate is not a family value; it is not a Christian value; it hurts the hater more than the object of the hate. We should also remember that the young men and women in our armed forces (and foreign service) who risk their lives, and sometimes die for our country in far-off lands, do it as Americans – never as Democrats or Republicans.
The 2012 election is finished. Now is the time for members of both political parties to come together to solve our nation’s problems.
The holiday season has begun. It’s a time to be thankful, joyful and hopeful. Let’s forget about all the political nonsense and just do it.
Anthony J. DiStefano worked in state and federal government before retiring to Aiken.