David Treadwell

David Treadwell

Politically speaking, our nation is deeply divided, perhaps more than ever before. Red State versus Blue State. Conservatives versus liberals. We (myself included) tend to stereotype those on the other side of the political fence. The media loves the divide, because conflict boosts ratings. We avoid talking politics with friends and family of different political persuasions, because passions run too high, feelings get too bruised.

Here are some things upon which most Americans agree. We may share more common ground than we think, especially given the finger-pointing rantings of talk show hosts and members of Congress.

We abhor Congress. A recent poll revealed that 79 percent of the American public rated Congress unfavorably. By comparison, only 22 percent of the public viewed Congress unfavorably in 1972. What changed? The incentive of members of Congress to do what they were elected to do: work for the American people. They used to focus on the real problems of real people. Now, they focus on raising money so they can get reelected. Why not? What a great gig! Give high sounding speeches; badmouth people in the other party; enjoy a short “work week,” during which nothing gets done, and benefit from great health care and lifetime pensions. Oh, and then raise more money. Repeat. It’s all about getting “our team” in power and staying in power. Good old Mitch McConnell set the stage when he declared that making Barack Obama a one-term president was his top priority.

Here’s a novel way to begin to solve the problem. Split the presidential ticket. Rumors abound that Ohio’s Governor John Kasich, a Republican, and Colorado’s Governor, John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, might run on a “unity” ticket in 2020. The two men are currently developing a bi-partisan approach to health care. Frankly, I’ll commit to voting for such a ticket right now.

We believe in freedom of religion; that is, we believe that the U.S. should be open to people of all religious faiths — or no faith. (Only 19 percent of the public believe that the U.S. was founded as a “Christian nation,” despite claims to the contrary by certain politicians and preachers.)

Seventy percent of us believe that climate change is real.

Seventy-two percent of us believe that immigration is a good thing.

Sixty percent of us believe that the federal government is responsible for ensuring health care coverage for all Americans.

Sixty-two percent of us support same-sex marriage.

Fifty-four percent of us believe that the president should be elected by popular vote rather than by the electoral college.

We favor fair and open national elections. That said, only 55.7 percent of eligible voters took the time to vote in the 2016 presidential election, a shameful voting rate well below that of most other democratic nations. Such apathy helped elect the disaster that is Donald Trump. Am I being too harsh in my take on Trump? Read on.

Sixty-two percent of us think that Trump is not honest; and sixty-three percent believe that he lacks the requisite leadership skills to be president.

Okay, enough. I challenge us all to try to find the common ground we share with the vast majority of our fellow Americans. Let’s not let politicians and pundits divide us. We’re better than that.

David Treadwell, a Brunswick writer, welcomes commentary or suggestions for future “Just a Little

Old” columns at [email protected]


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