Political insanity starts at home

By Reade Brower | Jul 17, 2014

“The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.” — John Steinbeck, novelist, (1902-1968).

Olympia Snowe is my new political heroine for not only standing up to a problem, but for being active in seeking a solution. She left her powerful life as a policy maker and leader in the Senate because of what she called the “hyper partisanship of Washington politics” and the frustration caused by the gridlock of a divided government.

Snowe found that she couldn’t even get cooperation from some in her own Republican Party, namely the radical members of the Tea Party that did not accept her centrist policies or agenda.

Since retiring from the Senate, Snowe has become one of the five co-chairs of the Bipartisan Policy Center whose charge is to create a “blueprint to strengthen our democracy."

I love the idea of both parties working together to form strategies and, as Alice McFadden of The Free Press recently wrote, that “in spite of the weird times we’re living in, having a seriously sane group of people, one of them former Sen. Olympia Snowe, who are working hard to come up with ways to fix some of what’s come apart in the functioning of our government and society." This is just downright encouraging. Alice goes on to cite past Maine politicians George Mitchell, Ed Muskie, Margaret Chase Smith and now Olympia Snowe who have all issued a “call to action” in fixing the political divide and disconnect. For more info: bipartisanpolicy.org/projects/political-reform/citizens.

In comparison, I put in my two cents into the debate last week on the insanity of suing ourselves as House Speaker Boehner and President Obama not only can’t play in the sandbox together, but Boehner picks up his toys and Obama counters by using executive privileges to jam through his agenda. I am OK with the president doing that because at least it moves us in spite of the gridlock that comes when ideology replaces common sense, and the art of negotiation becomes a “hate fest” where nothing good can arise.

Yes, the president’s comment “so sue me” was a little trite but most parents know how difficult it is to reason with children who will push your buttons and get you to sink to their level unless you are careful.

The Courier Publication editorial “Boehner is right to sue the president” made some intelligent and valid points but its’ message was off the mark because this is simply a stupid fight and another waste of time and money. What would be far better is to make both parties work together to find solutions to the problems plaguing our nation.

The editorial cited 40 bills that were passed by the House to initiate job creating and growth that were killed by the Democrats. While I agree this is unacceptable and not good governing, the facts are that what you put in is what you get out. In other words, you live the by sword, you die by the sword.

In Washington, the word respect doesn’t seem to have found a home. Respect begets respect, and so it goes to reason that lack of respect flows in the opposite direction.

The president’s habit of “ignoring the law” is more hyperbole in the editorial. The numbers cited last week do not back up the allegation. During his first four years in office, Obama went around the Congress on 147 occasions. This compares to George Bush who did it 173 times, Bill Clinton 200 times and Ronald Reagan on 213 occasions.

The editorial ends; “The legislative branch has an obligation to defend the rights and responsibilities of the American people, and America’s constitutional balance of power — before it’s too late.” I think the president of the United States has the obligation to keep our country running and is in charge of guiding us out of the morass in spite of Congress’s lack of cooperation.

If you want change and to serve the American people, change the system so there are better ways to fight the gridlock, which is at the base of our political systems’ problems.

In the end, all sides need to be contrite and start over again. They should look to former Sen. Snowe, and her group of sane, common sense politicians for guidance on how to get along in the sandbox and I wish they could be ordered to all go to counseling and a class on how to settle disputes without threats or “I hate you” ultimatums.

Rodney King put it best; “Can we all just get along?”

*****

"Know who you are and dress accordingly," was something I heard recently. I don’t dress up very well and seeing me “out of character” is rare. My social scene, like my wardrobe, is quite limited so I have never attended the annual Pop for Cause celebration but hear it is quite a gala. The reviews are that Bettina Doulton of Cellardoor and Lani Stiles of Megunticook Market know how to throw a party and both deserve kudo’s for what they’ve created and the good they do for our community. With $100,000 awarded to MCH Meals on Wheels this year, and another $20,000 to United Mid-Coast Charities, Coastal Opportunities, and the Midcoast Hospitality House, they have truly given a party that keeps giving. From all accounts, the evening is always a huge success and a night to dress up, eat, drink and dance with reckless abandon. It sounds like “a don’t stop until your feet go numb” kind of night. Thank you Bettina and Lani!

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Pay it forward. Turn the page!

 

 

Reade Brower can be reached at: reade@freepressonline.com.

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