Are you as tired of the hateful rhetoric and ugly state of U.S. politics as I am? The recent debacle over the manufactured debt-ceiling "crisis" is a perfect example of what is wrong with Washington.
Instead of thoughtful, well-informed debate and negotiation, a handful of leaders from the world's most admired government spit directly into the face of civility and reason to drive our country to the edge of financial ruin.
This is what happens when closed-minded people let their personal and partisan ideology take precedence over common sense, good judgment and doing what is best for the country. When our elected leaders won't consider the merits of all arguments we have a problem. When "compromise" becomes a dirty word we have a problem.
"Just say no" is a good strategy for combatting drugs, but in Congress, where negotiation and compromise have always been the basis of good, democratic government, the strategy is a poor choice.
Part of our problem is that each party has an exaggerated view of the other party's vision for our country. Democrats claim the pro-business Republican Party wants us to be a purely capitalist society where corporations run amok, unfettered by regulations and taxes at the expense of the poor and middle class.
The GOP claims the Dems want us to be a purely socialist society where the government runs vast entitlement programs to support the lazy masses and imposes millions of regulations designed to encumber business.
The truth is we are a hybrid society, part capitalistic, part socialistic. We need to accept that reality and stop trying to force our country to one extreme or the other.
Capitalism is simply private and corporate ownership working within a free enterprise system. Socialism in the USA is simply the pooling of resources to provide needed services that are most efficiently and cost-effectively managed and regulated through a centralized authority.
Capitalism can't operate cost effectively without many of the "socialist" resources provided by the government, e.g., shipping their goods on government managed, regulated or funded airways, highways, shipping, or railways.
And all of society relies on our system of capitalism for jobs and competitively priced goods and services. In our hybrid form, we are the strongest economy in the world. Sadly, our position is being threatened by a few hard-core ideologists unwilling to discuss alternative approaches and who don't seem to care about the consequences of their actions.
It is fine to shout, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore." It's something else to hold the country hostage in order to force through a purely ideological strategy aimed at unseating our president when the future of our country is at stake. The debt-ceiling "crisis" is an example of just how dangerous such a close-minded and poorly informed strategy can be. I want to appeal to the readers to keep their minds open, to listen to all sides of issues, to think beyond your personal preferences and biases and put the needs of the country first.
If you get your "facts" from a party-leaning talk show or network like Fox or MSNBC you do not get "fair-and-balanced" reporting in spite of what they might claim. Instead, you get a steady Chinese-water-torture-like diet of biased "sound bites."
Do your own research. You will be amazed at what you can learn by "Googling" any topic.
If you want to join in civil discussions with other well-informed people who believe in openness and civility, consider attending a Coffee Party meeting. I have found them very illuminating. The group meets on the second and fourth Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. Call Bernard Molay at (801) 866-5343 for the Ogden location. The atmosphere is non-threatening, the goal is to be informative, and no ... you don't have to drink coffee.
The Coffee Party is not backed by any special interests. It doesn't consider itself to be a counter group to the Tea Party, although I believe its approach to civil discussion and being well-informed is quite counter to theirs. I believe everyone's opinion should be heard, every side of an argument should be considered, "compromise" is still a healthy option and, finally, we should always do what is best for our country regardless of our personal preferences or biases. Let's give civility a chance.
Beauchamp is a retired marketing director and consultant from the aerospace industry. He lives in North Ogden.