Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

June 18, 2013

WE THE PEOPLE: No time to govern

CROSSVILLE — “When someone shows you who they really are, believe them.” — Maya Angelou

Bob Dole’s tribute to George McGovern at the time of his death last year was both beautiful and touching. Speaking of the friendship they shared and the work they did together during their time in the Senate and later in retirement, Dole said McGovern “was one of the finest public servants I ever had the privilege to know.” He went on to say that they knew what they had in common was far more important than their different political philosophies.

Times have changed. Recently Dole advised the Republican Party to hang a “closed for repairs” sign on its doors until it comes up with some positive ideas. The former Senate majority leader said that during his tenure “…we weren’t perfect by a long shot, but at least we got our work done.” Getting work done is not on the agenda of Republican congressmen today.

The first election of President Obama filled Republicans with so much anger and hatred that they determined to make him fail. For four years they refused to govern for fear it might allow the president to look good. If anyone had the quaint notion the president’s second term would change things in Congress, that fantasy was surely put to rest when Sen. Pat Toomey said some members of his party opposed expanding background checks on gun sales because they didn’t want to “be seen helping the President.”

Make no mistake about it, Dole and his generation fought for the same things the current crop of Republicans want. But unlike the Tea Party members of Congress, when the time came to govern they were willing to compromise and make deals to keep the government working. Let’s be fair though, how can congressional Republicans possibly have time to govern as long as there are “scandals” to be discovered, witches to be hunted, and hearings to be held? It’s a heavy work load, but on the plus side it does provide opportunities to grandstand in front of a TV camera.

The real scandal is that the branch of government that is supposed to address our nation’s problems has gone out of business. We have problems that need to be fixed. But, when we elect people to Congress who claim to hate government, we shouldn’t expect them to fix it. I appreciate the rational generation of Republican congressmen of the past, but I can’t overlook the fact that they pandered to the far right in order to get elected. In the process they let a genie out of the jug that they now can’t control.

But, Democratic congressmen are not blame-free. Instead of standing up, they often let themselves be backed into a corner. A prime example: after four years of blatant filibuster abuse by Republicans, Democrats refused to end that outdated Senate rule. They chose, instead, to support an outdated and destructive rule above the welfare of the nation.

Fortunately, I can say that (in public) without fear of being purged from my party. Democrats often disagree with other Democrats because we have no one to tell us what to think. We follow no playbook, no script. Each of us marches to our own drummer. But at the end of the day we are all headed in pretty much the same direction because we still listen to each other.

• • •

This column represents alternative thoughts to other published columns in the Crossville Chronicle. “We the People” is published each Wednesday. Opinions expressed in “We the People” columns are not necessarily those of the Crossville Chronicle publisher, editor or staff. For more information, contact John Wund, editor, at jwund@frontiernet.net.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Lion and the Lamb: A promised land?

    Back in biblical times there was a group of people who believed that God had promised them a segment of land on this planet that would be theirs forever. Who could have known back then that this ancient promise and territorial justification would be used by their descendants today to claim the same segment of land?

    July 29, 2014

  • We the People: Bring back the American dream

    Our economy continues to expand. The stock market is at record levels, yet many ask why so many of us are struggling?  Barely half of us believe the American dream is attainable.

    July 29, 2014

  • Tidbits: Taking a low-tech break

    Feeling increasingly strangled by my electronic leash, with phone, text messages, email, social media and a variety of other forms of communication always at my side, I took the weekend off.

    July 28, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Governing before and after mass corruption

    Laws in America were originally written simply. Every citizen could read them quickly and understand their meaning. The founders wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Northwest Ordinance and the Constitution of the United States, none of which was longer than 4,500 words.

    July 28, 2014

  • We the People: The last dance

    Charlie Hayden’s last recording session with his early partner, Keith Jarrett, was in 2007.  The songs they played were mostly melancholy.  The second album coming from that session includes Weil’s “My Ship” and Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” The dark ballad “Goodbye,” by Gordon Jenkins, was the final track.

    July 22, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Living in a pressure cooker

    The Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory about the size of Washington, D.C., has been in the news almost every day.  Its key location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has attracted a number of occupying powers over the years, and it has  been at the center of much Middle East history.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014