"What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them-- that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply."
--President Barack Obama, Inaugural Speech, January 20, 2009
Amen to that, Mr. President! If our new Chief Executive and Commander in Chief does nothing more during his time in the Oval Offcie than slay the beast I have not-at-all-fondly dubbed "Hyper-Partisanship," he will go down in history as more than the first African-American president of these United States. And the sad truth is that fire-breathing demon must die a quick and merciless death before Barack Obama can hope to meet the myriad of challenges that so many Americans voted to put him in the White House to tackle.
The signs the beast may already be on its last legs are certainy out there. Just read some of the news reports on how closely Obama conferred with his vanquished but honorable foe, the bona fide American war hero and political icon John McCain, on who he should appoint to his Adminstration's top posts. And let's tip our eyeshade to President George W. Bush, too, who by all accounts fostered perhaps the most orderly and non-partisan Presidential transition in U.S. history.
Barack Obama, 44th President of the U.S.
Our young President-- the first one younger than yours truly, no less--has plenty of tough sledding ahead of him, what with a sinking economy to right, a worldwide terrorism threat to keep thwarting, and two foreign wars to prosecute not to mention other pressing agenda items like energy security, global warming and nuclear profliferation.
The only way he will make it down any of the hills before him-- and up the next one and so on-- will be with the American people and their elected representatives pulling for him. And the only way to ensure that will happen is for him to keep campaigning for everyone’s support in the most non-partisan manner possible.
Partisanship of course won’t go away. Nor should it. It is the lifeblood of the unique two-party political system that emerged early on in our history and has served this nation remarkably well. What should go away— far away to whence it will never return--is the unbending, nasty-to-the-point-of-criminal form of partisanship that has infected too much of our body politic for too long.
So, I say to all my fellow Americans out there, be partisan or become partisan for that matter. Do so by stating your point of view and standing up for it by supporting officeholders who agree with you and working to convince other politicians to share your point of view.
Just remember, there is no rhyme or reason for being hyper-partisan. As a fellow American, the man or woman who disagrees with you has every right to and, what's more, one fine day you may need his or her vote on something that matters the world to you...