Saturday, January 26, 2019

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: National Interests

The recent government shutdown, at least now temporarily ended,
demonstrates one more time how the two major political parties and
their leaders are putting primarily their own political interests above
national interests.

This circumstance is abetted not only by a biased print and broadcast
media, cynical emotional political strategies, and an overdependence
on social media by many voters, but also by extreme factions on both
the left and the right. The latter groups want total satisfaction on their
own issues, and have little or no interest in political compromise.

But the history of  U.S. legislative policy and governance, beginning
with the draft of the U.S. constitution itself, has been the ability of
government institutions and its leaders to compromise. Failing to
compromise, the result is inevitably stalemate.

Sometimes control of both the legislative and executive branches fail
to replace stalemate with necessary action on national interests.
From 2009 to 2011, Democrats controlled the White House and the
Congress. From 2017 to 2019, the Republicans had equal power. In both
cases, some major legislation was passed and signed by the president,
but the voters soon divided political power, stalemate returned, and
critical national interests were not addressed.

That is where we are again today.

It is easy to blame only the media and extremist factions for all of this,
but it is important to remember that the U.S. is the quintessential
centrist nation --- and thus failure in public policy over the long-term
rests ultimately with the voters themselves, particularly with the large
number of centrist voters who have the civic responsibility to inform
elected officials and government bureaucrats how to serve national
interests as well as their political interests.

In 2020, as in 2016 and previous cycles, the character and will of the
voters will be tested once again.

Sensational headlines, “gotcha” moments, cynical strategies and purely
emotional appeals do not likely advance the national interests.

Copyright (c) 2019 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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