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Issues not Accusations

November 9, 2011

         Washington has never been the picture of harmony, but even by its own standards, the level of animosity between Democrats and Republicans has reached a fever pitch in recent years. Each side routinely vilifies the other. Accusations abound that the other side is putting party before country, that they do not have America’s best interest at hear, and that they are instead driven by motives of a more selfish and sinister nature. The vitriol found on Capitol Hill is far more abundant than jobs, providing cold comfort to the American people who just want to see solutions. Both parties have been quick to decry the other for these attacks, but neither side has any qualms about leveling such accusations when they decide the occasion calls for it.
      All of this only serves to shift the conversation away from the issues and working towards potential solutions, placing the focus instead on finger pointing and shouting across the aisle. These lines of attack aim to demonize the other party in the eyes of the American public, but they result in neither party being able to recognize any potential legitimate concerns and critiques raised by the opposition; in this atmosphere, anyone who disagrees must simply not have the
right motives and merits no response. At its core, these vituperative attacks are a tactic to avoid addressing substantive critiques to their ideas.

      Once Republicans have established that Democrats are driven only by their insatiable desire to expand the scope and size of government and not by concern for the welfare of the American people, they no longer have to explain the reasons they disagree with the initiatives of the Democrats based on the merits of those policies alone. After Democrats
determine that Republicans are consumed only with the aim of beating Barack Obama and retaking the White House in 2012, they do not have to deal with any serious concerns raised regarding their policies. By dismissing the other party, each side avoids having to engage in serious debate, both sides are talking to an empty room. The result is little substance and few results.

 


      At the end of the day, both parties come off as hypocritical and petty; leading many Americans to conclude that neither party is really serving their best interests. The constant drumbeat of vilification and accusation inspires little confidence in Washington, and could explain some of why Congress’ approval rating is mired near historically low levels. Ordinary Americans are tired of the back and forth, they want to see Congress focus on the issues and finding solutions.


      A good rule of thumb for these wayward politicians would be to never assume that anyone is motivated by hidden, malicious motives; thatthey instead pursue their agenda because they really believe it is in the best interest of Americans. To continuously suggest otherwise is an insult to this country and to the Americans who elected them.
      All of this does not mean that there will suddenly cease to be bitter divides on the Hill, but it could mean that the focus would at least remain on the issues, and trying to find solutions.

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