Pilkerton's Prognostications

This blog contains some of my past articles for the school newspaper and other musings I feel like posting. Beware liberals!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Modern political divide caused by 9/11


With Sunday's anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 I was sent in to a reflective mood concerning the events of that day and the national consequences that resulted from said events. This isn't going to be a mushy piece about how that day affected me; instead I want to explain how the national landscape has been changed since that day and what the political ramifi cations have come as a result.
Government today, regardless of which side of the aisle you're on, is unproductive at best. This is not the fault of Republicans or Democrats.
Instead it is a learned mistrust that has become common party practice from both sides. The ineffi ciency of government is approaching a dangerous level. It is my understanding that in previous congressional sessions the majority party got things done and pushed their agendas through with only limited resistance from the minority.
I understand that when one party wins two consecutive presidential elections and wins majority in both the House and Senate it can cause a little bitterness from the other side of the aisle.
This natural dislike for one another has gone from an uneasy cooperation before Sept. 11 to an outright boycott of the other party in modern politics.
I hesitate to use the word 'obstructionism' because this isn't a slanted piece and I'm not trying to push personal politics on anyone, but regardless of what side is trying to pass legislation it is not even considered by the other side.
This partisan bickering has turned party leadership in to extreme versions of their own party stereotypes. Republican leaders are now seen as religious zealots with a taste for blood while Democrat leadership are seen as sniveling, bleeding heart idealogues. The post Sept. 11 atmosphere of fierce patriotism and the accompanying atmosphere of terror has split this country as never before. The left advocates patience and tolerance of the enemy while the GOP takes the preemptive strike stance where the only solution to terrorism is to eradicate it before it reaches home. Both sides make sense.
While both sides make sense (to the intelligent observer) it is entirely impossible to implement both particular strategies.
As a staunch and occasionally militant Republican, I advocate strong defense and preemptive actions, but I am increasingly more aware of the problematic elements that accompany such and ideology. This divide makes me yearn for the days of more bipartisan politics where there was at least a gentleman's agreement to advance government for the good of the country.
I am not proposing that government before the terrorist attacks of 2001 was idyllic or utopian, but the increasingly tiresome atmosphere of partisan warfare and media propaganda may be wearing thin on this particular armchair pundit.
Standing at the site of the World Trade Centers in New York, I was overcome by a sense of unity and patriotism that brought me back to those days immediately following Sept. 11. I felt a deep concern for the direction this country was heading and recaptured that pride and unity that swept the nation in the wake of those events. I recall the deafening silence of the bar where I worked when President Bush addressed the nation on television.
I remember partisan differences being thrown out the window and senators and congressmen standing side by side and supporting the president with unwavering dedication.
I'm unsure if anything except a tragedy can force such cooperation in government, but recapturing the spirit of that time would go a long way in these days of politicized hurricanes and 24 hour media attack dogs.
I believe we all get swept up in the partisan politics I've just railed against and nothing is wrong with voicing a knowledgeable opinion and contributing to the arena of ideas, but I think all parties need to take a breath and realize what it meant to be an American that day and perhaps realign their perspectives based on the humility that was forced on our entire nation that day. A utopia is impossible, but a civilized discourse of ideas and actions should take place without the results being immediately shot down due to the prevailing 'us against them' attitude. Once there was a middle ground and it's a shame if it takes a national tragedy to show us how to get there, perhaps as those young men and women like myself and those of you reading this mature in to professional adults and participate in government we'll tire of character assassination, petty insults, and institutionalized obstructionism.
My only concern is a strong America that I can take pride in and know that everything possible is being done to ensure our well-being. The architects of this country intended for clear, respectful discourse in the Legislative branch to be the primary engine for securing the expansion and evolution of America and the current state of affairs, in both major parties and the innumerable minor parties is simply unacceptable.


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