Good Luck

December 07th, 2021
L&T Opinions Page

earl wattL&T Publisher Earl Watt


The last time a Republican president put Democrats ahead of his own party was when George H.W. Bush supported a small capital gains tax after making the pledge of “no new taxes.”

The last time a Democrat put Republicans ahead of his own party was when Bill Clinton declared “the era of big government is over.”

Both of those occurred in the 1990s, and the hyperpartisanship we experience today was in reaction to those two big moves. Couple that with the amplification of a media that completely gave up on neutrality and Big Tech jumping into the fray by going full blown liberal, and we’ve reached a divided America that eclipses the differences we experienced during the Civil War.

What’s worse is how the attacks on each party has resulted in a complete disrespect and distrust for government as a whole.

According to Pew Research, government trust has steadily declined following the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The government enjoyed 75 percent approval during the Eisenhower (Republican) and Kennedy (Democrat) administrations, but during Johnson (D), Nixon (R), Ford (R) and Carter (D), that trust dropped to 40 percent.

Under Reagan (R), trust grew back to 55 percent and remained steady until the Bush presidency and the broken promise of no new taxes. Trust dropped into the 30 percentile range and climbed back to close to 50 percent under Clinton (D) and for most of George W. Bush’s presidency.

But as social media grew, trust in government eroded to less than 25 percent at the end of Bush’s presidency and hovered there through the Obama (D) and Trump (R) presidencies.

Now the number is dropping to 20 percent in the first year of the Biden presidency.

It comes as no surprise that Democrats trust government by 36 percent with Biden in the White House while Republicans only show 9 percent trust in government.

Both parties have shoved the entire failure of the federal government on the opposite party, and civility is leaving the public square when it comes to politics.

Maxine Waters encouraged Democrats to confront Republicans on the street and to “draw a crowd and let them know they are not welcome here.”

What exactly does that mean? Republicans aren’t welcome in government? In the nation?

Under President Donald Trump, who believed he was cheated out of the presidency because of COVID changes to voting, wanted his followers to let elected officials know they were not happy with the outcome, and the result was a riot at the Capitol that ended with one rioter shot dead.

Al Gore challenged the presidential results all the way to the Supreme Court in 2000, Hillary Clinton claims Russians influenced the 2016 election, and Trump continues to declare the results of the 2020 election in doubt.

Americans are listening, and what they are hearing is that neither party is legitimately in control, and that is dangerous.

Incremental change is built in to the process, so even if voters have buyer’s remorse, they typically can pull the plug on any one party getting so far ahead that it can unilaterally implement radical changes. 

That’s what midterm elections do.

And those in the majority party typically try to show some sort of commitment to incremental changes that will show the public they can handle the responsibility of government.

But now we are seeing parties attempt to turn the thinnest margin of partisan control into a false appearance of a national mandate to enact policies that will uproot society as a whole, from dangerously flirting with the supply of energy to socialized programs that will never be able to be undone, or at least that is the current proposal.

And it is understandable why we have trouble trusting our leadership.

Trump’s claims that Vice President Mike Pence could decertify the Electoral College is simply untrue.

Biden’s claim that a $3.5 trillion dollar socialist package of policies is free is equally false.

Claiming the border is closed is false.

Claiming the economy is making progress is false.

Claiming the pullout from Afghanistan was done properly and supported by our allies is blatantly false.

Claiming that Trump was responsible for 345,323 COVID deaths during his presidency is as false as claiming Biden is responsible for 388,575 during his presidency. Pandemics kill people or they wouldn’t be called pandemics, and no nation was immune.

But as long as we only believe one side of this argument is telling us the truth, we allow our own side to get away with any spin, and we join in on the defense of “our’ side and the condemnation of the other side.

That’s why this is worse than the Civil War split. 

That was an economic split over the issue of slave labor plantations in the south and sweat shop factory work in the north.

This split is fundamental societal schisms more akin to ethnic and religious splits than economic differences.

Our party affiliation is forgiving of our own and condemning of the other, and the trust level is all but gone.

Never since the spoils system was removed from appointments with the Pendleton Act in 1883 has the bureaucratic arm of government become so partisan.

Those serving in government are supposed to be free from the partisanship, but now there is an effort to purge even these positions. President Joe Biden removed all Republicans from volunteer boards, like Lee Greenwood being pulled from the National Endowment for the Arts to  retired Gen. John Keane who was widely respected from both sides who was yanked from the West Point board.

With a divided nation, bipartisanship should be required. Instead, the chasm has widened, possibly forever.

Log in

Pick your language/Elige su idioma