America’s 21st Century Civil War

When asked about the state of the U.S. economy, Hillary Clinton first takes the opportunity to imply some similarity between John McCain and Herbert Hoover. At the same time, Senator McCain delivers a speech addressing, “Senator Obama’s fantasy plan for making us safer.” Meanwhile, Barack Obama compares Senator Clinton to Walter Mitty, in responding to her “mistake”, in recounting her visit to Bosnia, as First Lady.

I understand that these tactics are common, for providing political leverage but how do they help our nation? None of the three current Presidential Candidates mentioned are perfect but, though their approaches differ, I trust that each of of them actually have hearts to serve our nation. Why, then, do we so consistently hear these sorts of slams while we ALMOST NEVER HEAR ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF ANYTHING GOOD IN OPPONENT’S POSITIONS, that would in fact serve the best interests of our nation?

Maybe you agree with John McCain’s positions and maybe you don’t but he is unarguably a genuine National Hero. The late-night comics seem to be getting a lot of mileage out of repeatedly saying that McCain is “really old.” I get a laugh out of it and Senator McCain appears to too but isn’t it a shame that this sort of thing masks a greater truth … that, for a guy who was tortured in the equivalent of a kennel cage for six years, he looks pretty good? Then, he came home to continue to work tirelessly to serve his nation. With a guy like this, wouldn’t we be better off if McCain’s opponents were courageous enough to embrace the good they see in his positions and build on that? After all, McCain’s positions on Government Spending, Border Security, Environment, etc., haven’t always been completely in line with his party. Surely, there’s something in there that Clinton and Obama can draw on that would add to their strategies.

With Hillary Clinton, its not uncommon to hear about her “unlikeability.” Whether you want to have dinner with her regularly or not, you have to admit that she’s worked hard to prepare herself to serve and she has, in fact, worked hard in serving. Currently, she gets a lot of criticism for claiming “experience” through her roles as First Lady of Arkansas and then, of the U.S. Perhaps much of that criticism is deserved but, if so, she at least equally deserves consideration of that old adage about the most difficult instrument to play being second-fiddle. And, very obviously, her challenges were even greater, as the result of the “fiddling” of the one she was striving to support. You’d think that a person of her caliber would have some ideas about strengthening our middle class, our families and our schools that could be useful in the plans of her opponents.

Many question Barack Obama’s substance and the scrutiny his judgement is currently getting over the church he’s associated himself with for nearly 20 years seems legitimate. But the guy seems to have some desirable natural leadership qualities and he’s speaking out about a number of issues in our culture that have gone untended for far too long. With his intellect, surely he can contribute to a number of challenges but you’ve got to admit, he’s uniquely qualified to address some cross-cultural matters. Wouldn’t the U.S. culture benefit more if Clinton and McCain acknowledged their void in an area that Obama can so richly fill?

Unfortunately, our nation has drifted away from what I’m suggesting. Its a quality that made us great in the first place. Some think of it as Yankee ingenuity. I say its a greater strength that comes from the synergy of the best of our differing ideas. Instead, what we’ve gotten, for quite some time, is having those who say their purpose is to serve, pitting themselves against each other over any difference they can find. The most remarkable evidence of this is what’s known as “The Redstate/Bluestate Divide”, that became so obvious with the first Presidential Election of this century and millennium.

When Cal Thomas and Bob Beckel came out with their book, Common Ground – How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America, I was hopeful it could start a groundswell of interest that would turn us back in a more productive direction in this regard. I even dreamed that my Presidential Candidate (now dropped out) would pick up on this and champion the cause. Neither happened and that’s a shame because I don’t think we’re just missing out on doing something good here. I agree with Thomas and Beckel that this is a “…Partisan War That is Destroying America.” I think of it as America’s 21st Century Civil War. Of course, it doesn’t really compare with our 19th Century Civil War but, much as was the case with the circumstances that led to The War Between The States, if these circumstances aren’t addressed and turned around, I believe it will continue to lead to our decline, as a great nation.

So what’s the solution? I think we should look to that first Civil War for the answer. There was no “groundswell of interest” to turn us back in a more productive direction. Instead, our country split in two … North and South … and gunfire broke out “across the aisle” between the two sides. It was the bloodiest war we’ve ever known. Thankfully, Abraham Lincoln stepped into that breech and proved himself to be one of our nation’s greatest heroes. Without Lincoln’s courage, its doubtful that our nation would have survived that time. Although the circumstances of the North/South Split differ from those of the Redstate/Bluestate Divide, the results could be as tragic. My hope and prayer with this is that a 21st Century American Hero will rise up and have the courage to step into this “Divide” before it leads to a point of no return in our nation’s decline. Does anyone see a true hero like this on the horizon? I guess we’ll know when we see one of these, who say their intention is to serve the public, changing the words they use and more importantly, changing their actions to match.

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