The old saying that we should be careful what we wish for—because we might get it—has never been more relevant than today.
These days we are battered on all sides by waves of both political anger and political ineptitude, as a clearly over-his-head president reacts with sputtering insults and cries of treason to the drummed up anger and outrage displayed by both political parties in the impeachment discussion—as the people’s business grinds to a full and complete stop.
And as we watch the chaos unfold it’s probably not the best time to be reminded of what I’m going to say anyway: we brought this all on ourselves.
We allowed ourselves to create career politicians, most of whom have more job security than you or I will ever know. They mingle theater and simplistic political theory as they succumb—as humans usually do—to the siren songs of fame, power, and money. They have fiefdoms to protect—their offices, not the people they were elected to serve—and as the terms turn into decades they will allow nothing to get in their way.
We allowed ourselves to be sucked into the media echo chamber of people who tell us only what we want to hear, and grow rich and powerful in the process. For us, they proclaim a sort of social gospel that requires only our devotion and anger—a much easier philosophy to follow than the mercy, kindness, and self-control asked by Jesus Christ.
We allowed ourselves to believe that the extraordinarily complex problems of our age can be solved by simplistic answers that dance on the tongue. Drain the swamp, make love not war, lock her up, save the planet, build the wall, ban the guns. As rallying cries, they work just fine. But when the complexity required to turn our simplistic visions into reality overwhelms us, instead of buckling down and working it out together we just give up and heap accusatory blame on those with whom we disagree.
Think back: America elected Donald Trump because Congress was “broken”—a true statement, by the way. Anything, it seemed, was better than the plague of Washington’s paralysis.
So a near-majority of us elected someone with one mission—to blow everything up and get us working together again. After all, America reasoned, the presidency really isn’t that hard a job. Why not give the reins to an inexperienced outsider? And many of us liked the way that even though he ran as a Republican, he happily suggested that both parties were full of crap, and once elected he would knock some heads together and get things done.
Instead, the partisan divisions in this country are vastly deeper than in 2016—something at the time I thought could never happen.
As for the people’s business, let’s pull out the scorecard. Infrastructure improvements? Nope. Fixing healthcare? Nope. Immigration reform? Nope. Rudimentary planning for climate change? Nope. Balancing the federal budget? Big fat nope. Returning high paying middle class factory jobs to America? Nope. Improving the rest of the economy? Well, if surviving by working two or three part-time jobs without benefits counts, then maybe.
Meanwhile, the man elected to create unity has disappointingly discovered the political expediency of picking sides. So now everything—every single solitary problem in the United States of America—is the fault of that other despicable party completely filled with evil and contemptable traitors to the American Way.
This is nonsense, and we have allowed it all. In fact, we’ve supported it and cheered from the sidelines.
How will it all end? The optimist in me hopes that voices from all sides will speak up about the need to cooperate and work together, and not be vilified by Fox News and CNN for doing it. We have a lot of work to do in America, and we can’t keep leaving it for career politicians or our grandchildren to fix. Maybe the impeachment inquiry and whatever follows will finally wake us up.
Because in the end, we are the ones who must choose to back away from cliff. It’s far too important a job to leave to Washington.
Chris Huston is an author and award-winning columnist living in the Magic Valley. Connect with Chris on Facebook at Chris Huston-Finding My Way and at chrishustonauthor.com.
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