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The nation is divided

November 16, 2012

I have been asked by the The Courier to write about “the state of the nation” following the 2012 election.  What can one say?  The nation is divided.  It has been for some time.  Yet Abe Lincoln warned us many decades ago that a house divided against itself cannot endure.  If we are to restore unity, something has got to give, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Right now, of course, Democrats are smiling.  Some, perhaps, are even gloating.  They shouldn’t be.  Republicans, on the other hand, are dazed and confused. Some are looking pensively inward.  Many more are searching for a scapegoat, blaming Sandy the Hurricane, the media, Mitt Romney, and/or allegedly stupid voters for their defeat.

The truth is that the welfare of the nation requires thoughtful actions from both of the major political parties.  In that spirit, I have prepared the following “to do” lists, which, if followed to the letter, should reinvigorate both the parties themselves and our republic as a whole.

For Republicans:
1. Embrace the fact that we are a multicultural nation of immigrants.
2. Stop despising the poor– how can you properly rule people you don’t respect?
3. Get over your tax phobia.  Prosperous Americans can, indeed, afford to pay higher taxes, consume robustly, and invest in the future.
4.  Eschew the role of Bogus Obstructionists (2008-2012 RIP) and embrace that of Honest Opposition (2012-????).
5.  Begin the latter by compromising with President Obama on a budget in order to avoid the looming “fiscal cliff.”

In a nutshell: dump the TEA Party mentality into Boston Harbor (or Long Island Sound, whichever is more handy) and become a political party of which Lincoln could be proud.

For Democrats:
1. Remember the dark days of 2010– don’t gloat!  There is work to be done.
2. Stop blaming everything on “W”.  Republicans were wrong to claim that things were just rosy before Barack Obama came along.  Democrats are wrong to claim that things were completely peachy before George W. Bush.  Mellifluous as he is, Bill Clinton never seriously addressed the issue of long-term poverty.  The work of “The Great Society” is not being achieved by our current welfare state.
3. Stop depending on silly Republican utterances (with regard to rape, the “47%”, etc.) for your electoral success: come up with some fresh ideas for stimulating the economy, fostering equality, and balancing the budget.

In a nutshell: get that silly smile off your faces and start solving problems.

Ira Smolensky
Full Professor

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