Tuesday, January 11, 2011

There's Something Happening Here

The very sad and tragic attempted assassination of a Congresswoman, and the killing of 6 people who were caught in the line of fire this past Saturday, reminds me of how far from civilized our politics have become. Last night I was watching CNN and Anderson Cooper was talking with Dana Loesch, David Gergen and Roland Martin. They suggested that the animosity of the opposing parties is just business as usual in Washington. NO, IT’S NOT. IT WASN’T ALWAYS THAT WAY. Anyone can look back at the 60’s and 70’s and see significant legislative achievements with bipartisan support including civil rights legislation and Medicare. According to Professor Emeritus Barbara Sinclair of UCLA, only 8% of major legislation in the 60’s suffered from “extended-debate-related-problems” such as the filibuster, while in the 2007-2008 congress, approximately 70% of bills were subject to that tactic.

My theory is things changed when Richard Nixon was impeached. Like two kids in a spat, one of the kids crossed a line that the other cannot ever forgive, and thus, the friendship is over. What I don’t understand is why this has also happened in Canada.

Justin Trudeau, in his beautiful eulogy of his father Pierre Elliot Trudeau had the following story to relate about Mr. Trudeau and the leader of the opposition, Joe Clark:

As I guess it is for most kids, in Grade 3, it was always a real treat to visit my dad at work.

As on previous visits this particular occasion included a lunch at the parliamentary restaurant which always seemed to be terribly important and full of serious people that I didn't recognize.

But at eight, I was becoming politically aware. And I recognized one whom I knew to be one of my father's chief rivals.

Thinking of pleasing my father, I told a joke about him -- a generic, silly little grade school thing.

My father looked at me sternly with that look I would learn to know so well, and said: `Justin, Never attack the individual. We can be in total disagreement with someone without denigrating them as a consequence.'

Saying that, he stood up and took me by the hand and brought me over to introduce me to this man. He was a nice man who was eating there with his daughter, a nice-looking blond girl a little younger than I was.

He spoke to me in a friendly manner for a bit and it was at that point that I understood that having opinions that are different from those of another does not preclude one being deserving of respect as an individual.

Liberals, Conservatives, PQ'ers and NDPers, take heed.

Enough seriousness.

Let’s hope for a better tomorrow, and let’s enjoy, Stephen Stills (next stop was Crosby, Stills, and Nash), Neil Young (next stop, an on going solo career that is still on going), Richie Furay (next stop, Poco) and Jim Messina (next stop Poco, then Loggins and Messina) from 1967:

1 comment:

  1. I watched President Obama at the memorial service in Arizona last night. I was struck by his intelligence, his sincerity, his humanity and his profound grief. I thought his tribute was wonderful. I thought it was wonderful that he was there. I thought Mrs. Obama was also very caring in her response to the touching sentiments. The President appealed for civility.

    CNN afterwards decided to spin this tribute into a campaign speech, and were very critical of it's content. That's what they do. They SPIN. They took what was a memorial tribute and spun it into something it was never meant to be. They just can't let things go. Their jobs are dependent on it I suppose, but it's infuriating.

    Why do I care? My daughter is married to an American. My son is married to an American. My Granddaughter is an American (for now)...and I have many, many good friends who are American. What happens in America affects me deeply. Besides, they have much more interesting politics than Canada does. My own party can't even decide what it's policy is let alone talk about it...civilly or not. We need Justin Trudeau, just not in a fur outfit :)