It’s time to stop arguing about who started it and time for someone to start stopping it. I’m talking about the excessive partisanship that is – frankly – destroying our government’s ability to function effectively. Disagreement in a democracy is not a problem. Vicious attacks and a refusal to respect your opposition are.
Lots of factors have brought us to the present state of acrimony with enough blame to spread around. But it has got to stop. Like it or not – the best opportunity to start restoring civility and working toward honest compromise is in the hands of the Speaker-elect, Nancy Pelosi. She has a chance to change things for the better … a chance that may not come around again for a long time.
I would suggest she announce something like this:
“The American people chose the Democrats to lead the House. Their message on a number of issues is clear. But ours is a divided government and if anything good is to be done for the American people, we have to find ways to work together, begin to develop some level of trust from which we can forge honest compromises.
“Obviously, this must be a two-way street. I want to make the first move. Thus I am announcing today that there will be no action taken on various impeachment proposals that have been suggested by some in my party.
“There will be oversight. Under Democrats there was serious oversight with administrations of both parties and that will be restored. Our purpose, however, will be to assure that the administration is functioning effectively, not to harass agencies entrusted with the public’s business.
“We will give careful consideration to the President’s proposals and we urge him to give equally careful attention to our responses and our proposals.
“Regarding Iraq, the difference between ‘bench marks’ and ‘time tables’ is small. We can reach agreement on how to return the responsibility of governing Iraq to the Iraqis if we try. Any analysis of the mid-term election just past suggests that is the first order of business.
“We can address other issues with the administration.
“Here in the House, we are very closely divided. I frankly think our Republican predecessors made a mistake in trying to win everything with only Republican votes. It put too great a strain on their conference. We too have a narrow majority. We will welcome support from Republicans who share some of our goals … and we will listen to them. Ultimately, we must do what our members of our caucus want, but that does not exclude being open to possible compromises.
“The minority will be included in the entire legislative process from beginning, through conference. There will be no excluding of the minority. In response, we do not expect agreement. But, we will expect contribution, not obstruction. We offer the same to the administration.
“Both Republicans –and Democrats need to pursue their convictions on policy, but recognize that with divided control no one gets anything without working together. More importantly, the American people get nothing from us, if we don’t work together.
“We Democrats are willing to try very hard to make that happen. We earnestly hope our Republican colleagues will agree.”
A Dollar’s Worth of Wisdom.
“Truth resides in every human heart, and one has to search for it there, and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of the truth.”
– Mohandas K. Gandhi.