If I hear one more talking head lecturing this morning about “the peaceful transfer of power“, I think my head will go spinning off. It’s as if the talking heads believe that if this administration hands over the reins quietly, everything will be better. Except it won’t. If we don’t focus on what comes after the transfer of power, we’re condemned to repeat this nightmare again.
Our inability to achieve the peaceful transfer of power now is only a symptom of what’s wrong, not the cause. The roots of this disease go much deeper. If we want to save our Union we have to acknowledge it’s the pendulum swings that are killing us. We need to be willing to step off these horrifying swings from one extreme to the other. I pray that’s not beyond the new Congress and the Presidency, not to mention voters that elected them and those who didn’t.
Yesterday’s uprising in Washington, DC was predictable, as was the inevitable spin and finger-pointing in its wake. In fact, even before the insurrection had laid down for the night it had already started: frenetic wood gathering for the next bonfire. We’ve only got a brief window of time to rightly grapple with this, to seize this day in America and it won’t be easy. We can stop the madness, but everyone has got to be the action heroes who fix America. Who save us from anarchy and lawlessness.
First step: move rapidly beyond the blame game. Take the responsibility that rightfully falls to all of us. Stop saying everything was Clinton’s fault, Bush’s fault, Obama’s fault, Trump’s fault. Socialists’, Evangelicals’. Right wing fanatics’. Radical environmentalists’ and red necks’. They’re all complicit in special and unique ways, but we are too.
We’ve got to stop seeing the business of politics as a zero sum game of winners and losers because sooner or later losers rise up and wrest control from winners and the cycle starts again. We must be cycle breakers.
Democratic leaders, now it falls to you to avoid treating the minority party as you were treated. Be magnanimous reconcilers and peacemakers. You hold the power. Be negotiators, not bomb throwers. You have the ability to demonstrate wisdom and courage. You won, but barely. Stop taking your marching orders from special interests and those who would erase shared American values. Work with, not against those with whom you disagree philosophically. Sh ow us that you understand what’s at stake and that you possess the will and skills to serve all Americans. Be adults in the room. If you don’t lead with all of us in mind, the cycle shifts in Congress again in two years.
Republican leaders, be good sports. You have some fence-mending to do. You lost, but barely. Be reconcilers and peacemakers. You too have a lot of healing to do. Stop avoiding wicked societal problems. Stop taking your marching orders from special interests and those who peddle conflict and strife. Work with, not against those with whom you disagree philosophically. Stop name-calling and finger-pointing. Be adults in the room.
And the rest of us? We too must work with, not against those with whom we disagree philosophically. Not everything is an existential threat to our way of life. Realize that living in America these days means being part of a community where we take care of each other, not just ourselves. Stop vilifying everything that doesn’t meet narrow litmus tests. Be wiser than that. Be adults in the room.
Let’s all step off (and stay off) the pendulum. Don’t eat at the trough of malcontents and cretins of any ilk. Let’s not be selfish – let’s come together to be part of solving big problems in America. Let’s stop being manipulated by those who seek to swing things their way to the detriment of others. Remember the Golden Rule and the things that make America truly great: integrity, courage, compassion, and wisdom.
Truly, something has got to change, but in order for something to change, someone has to change. That someone is all of us and the time is now. The real work begins beyond the peaceful transfer of power.
May we be up for the challenge. May we seize this day in America. May we save our Union.