It was really a time of learning new trades, new ways of doing things, and making do. Other than heavy hearts, I fully believe that if the truth was ever told, this country was more together, caring more, with less, than ever before or since. (Cecilia P. Jones-Angell, October 19, 1990)
The statement above is taken from my mother's memoirs,which she wrote out in the years before she died, and refers to the early days of WWII. I am struck by the comment of people caring more, with less, and that the country was together.
In many ways, perhaps, it was a simpler time, despite the fact that the whole world was at war, and given that the country was emerging from the Great Depression. I think that we could learn from our history about the value of pulling together toward a common goal instead of fighting to undermine whatever hope we might find for our nation and the world.
I can accept that there are people who did not vote for our current President and who are disappointed that their candidate, their party, did not win. I know that I would be unhappy had the election gone the other way. But I hope that I would be looking for solutions and working to mend fences instead of continuing to be angry and working to tear the fragile fabric of our economy.
Today I watched a documentary by Alexandria Pelosi, the daughter of the Speaker of the House. She compiled film clips and interviews with my countrymen who supported the McCain ticket because she felt it was important to know that there are people in this nation who vehemently disagree with what the Democratic Party stands for, and who yet are faithful Americans and patriots. She wanted people to know that we share a love for our nation with people who believe differently and who feel excluded from decision-making, and who even feel betrayed and marginalized.
The documentary began with a disclaimer that not everyone who is Republican is as radical as some who are portrayed, but that the people who spoke were sincere and genuine in their feelings. I can accept that; I can even embrace the differences of my fellow Americans without accepting their ideology. What I cannot embrace or accept is the determination to see our country fail just because of spiteful feelings or resentment over last November's election.
In recent days I've seen and heard too many conservative politicians posturing over the stimulus bill that the President signed this week. I've heard some Republican governors decry the bill and make statements regarding whether or not they will accept money from the bill, even as their states sink further and further into unemployment, foreclosure crises, and budgets bordering on bankruptcy.
Fortunately, the bill allows for state legislatures to accept the money over the governors' objections so as to avoid states being penalized for political reasons. I heard Governor Schwartzenegger on this documentary as he criticized then-candidate Obama for his fiscal policies; and yet today the governor of California is eagerly awaiting the assistance this stimulus package will bring to his state. I know that the Republican governor of Florida has taken a stand with the President to implement the bill and bring relief to his constituents.
I don't think anyone should be silenced for their genuine objections, but I do think that people need to accept reality. I think Republican members of Congress need to look at where we are headed and, instead of attempting to place every stumbling block possible in the path of this new administration, they should be working for the good of the country rather than looking at their chances of getting re-elected.
I am so tired of the intractable partisanship that permeates the fiber of our nation. It was not always so; even I can recall a time when Senators, Congressmen, Governors, and even the common citizen put aside partisan politics for the good of the whole. Why would any right-minded person want our nation to fail? Why would one hope that our President will be proved wrong in his policies? Why wouldn't all Americans want to see our nation succeed, regardless of who is in office?
I truly cannot fathom the mindset that denies reality. If you don't agree with the stimulus package then, by all means, speak your mind; and if you're truly against it, then please return whatever monetary benefit you accrue. If you're really dead set against it, then you would be hypocritical to accept a reduction in your taxes or assistance with your mortgage or a job that is created or even additional weeks of unemployment compensation or COBRA assistance. If you put your money where your mouth is, then you will have credibility.
Otherwise, you are, in the words of St. Paul, a noisy gong or a clashing cymbal, seeking only to disrupt rather than attempting to heal in our time of national need.