I remember the conversation after President Obama’s 2008 victory, when Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Senate Republicans, stated, “My number one priority is making sure President Obama’s a one-term president.”
When Senator McConnell clearly wished on the wrong star and President Obama was re-elected, another plan was hatched, known as “The Party of No.” Vice President Biden was told by several senators, “For the next two years, we can’t let you succeed in anything. That’s our ticket to coming back.”
After reading this, I decided to go hunting in my father’s box of newspapers, where I found an article written after President Clinton’s inauguration, which showed a remarkably different attitude.
GOP lawmakers are for the most part talking of cooperation, and treating Clinton’s Cabinet nominees more kindly than some expected. ‘They feel it would be politically incorrect to criticize him before he even gets started,” Senator John Breaux, D-LA, said of his colleagues across the aisle.
Wow! “It would be politically incorrect to criticize him before he even gets started.”
Today, our children disrespect our teachers, parents yell at the coaches on the soccer field, thank you notes are becoming optional (Not for me though. Two strikes and you’re out!), and many of our political candidates resort to bullying and name calling. No wonder our children are so rude, because there is no example to follow.
Vice President Biden and Senator John McCain both recently won an award for “civility in public life.” I read that and thought, just maybe there is hope.
Joe Biden said,
Too often, we lack empathy and mutual respect on all sides of our politics and in the media. But we can do better. We can behave with humility. We can be more courteous and respectful. We can treat each other as we wish to be treated.
We can be rivals. We can fight—fight hard and noisily. We can stand for our convictions and refuse to yield until our last breath. But whether right or wrong, we are only fools if we don’t recognize this truth:
We are fellow Americans and fellow human beings, who possess equal dignity and rights, and in the end, our shared identity is so much more important than our differences.”