So much has been said and written about the divide between the blue states and the red states, that it seems pointless to write anything else. After all, as former-NBA star Darryl Dawkins once (allegedly) noted, “When all’s said and done, there’s nothing left to say or do.”
But no one ever said that I was rational, so I’ll offer my two cents. I believe that there are two possibilities that explain the nasty gridlock and rancorous debates that are flaring in the U.S.:
1) Our politicians are selling us out. What we lack in our fair land is what (in less-enlightened times) people used to call “statesmanship.” In the past, politicians used to ignore their more-partisan constituents for the good of the country. However, now, given the intense, 24-7 news coverage (by the likes of Keith Olbermann and Rush Limbaugh) and the needs to raise millions for each re-election fight, pols simply don’t have the stomach to put the country’s best interests ahead of the demands of their respective “bases.”
2) Our politicians really aren’t so bad. In fact, they represent us reasonably well, it’s just that the country is so sharply divided that politics in D.C. reflect the divide angry divide between the Left and the Right.
(Of course, it’s always possible that our problems stem from some combination of the two factors listed above).
I hope that possibility #1 is the case, but I fear that possibility #2 may be more accurate. My politics are purple, and I fear the rancor in the country more than I fear the victory or defeat of any particular initiative.
Still, while I’m not often accused of being an optimist, I believe that the U.S. – for all its problems – has a bright future.