- Cullman, Alabama

December 30, 2012

EDITORIAL: Outside the comfort zone

The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — As the president and Congress drag America closer to the “fiscal cliff,” the hope that statesmanship rises above partisanship is growing dim.

The long, grueling debate over taxes and budget cuts — what to extend and what to eliminate — has provided a platform for Republicans and Democrats to drive home party philosophies, no matter how discouraging the public views this shameless parading of close-minded puppeteering. For anyone who thinks outside of the boundaries of political manipulation, the showcase in Washington is good reason for independence above party affiliations.

The political history of the United States has long brought about dramatic, colorful debates concerning a wide range of issues. Nonetheless, the great success of the United States and its political system has been the ability of leaders to quarrel eloquently in public before settling in for the real business of compromise and meaningful legislation. Otherwise, the country would long ago have ceased to exist.

The level of gridlock and contentious mouthing issuing from the White House and Capitol Hill has not been witnessed since the eve of the Civil War. As tumultous as that event was in American life, the willingness to do nothing is unmatched by today’s elected leadership in both parties.

While Americans continue to struggle with the economy, and businesses balk at wider expansions and fresh starts in the U.S., Democrats and Republicans behave like hyenas at a fresh kill; not one is willing to let loose of a bone while an ounce of flesh remains to be gnawed. If the leadership of either party believes Americans largely agree with this standoff, they are sadly mistaken and out of touch with the people who inhabit this land.

Political party loyalists have always been a minority. They are the ones who plot and scheme to gain and retain power. Most Americans are objective enough to choose candidates they hope will work for the greater good of the country. The fact that Congress is not the domain of one party is proof that Americans appreciate a reasonable level of political diversity, but not at the cost of sinking the nation.

If just a few key leaders would step outside the confines of their political parties, some great things could happen for the nation. The economy is damaged, not lost.