Jim Fossel’s June 23 column, “Politics of resentment hold us back,” was spot on. Each party uses “all or nothing” tactics to imply that in order to “win,” the other side must lose. I was with him all the way – cheering “yes!” And “right on!” That is, right until his last few paragraphs – when he suggested that “we ought to move toward more aspirational politics” and “work together to improve the country a a whole for everyone.”

I couldn’t agree more. However, as I recall, Barack Obama swept to victory on an aspirational message of hope and a commitment to bipartisanship, bringing many voting Republicans along with him. There was optimism in most parts of the country that Washington might actually start to work for everyone. But resentful Republicans, led by the tea party, steadfastly refused to entertain – much less pass – any bipartisan legislation, while Mitch McConnell pressured senators in his own party to refuse to compromise in any way, shape or form as a means of hamstringing government. Republicans were quick to crow about the “dysfunction in Washington,” blaming the Obama administration for its inability to accomplish “the will of the people.”

McConnell then refused to allow the Senate to hold hearings on Obama’s 2016 nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, later boasting that “one of (his) proudest moments” was when he essentially told the sitting president to go jump in a lake.
Aspirational, indeed.

Now we have the political equivalent of a flamethrower occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., whose only “aspiration” seems to be the zero-sum game scenario that relentlessly pits himself and his followers against other Americans.

I am with you, Mr. Fossel, but the “differences” we’re talking about in today’s politics – the demonization of others, fear-mongering, closed-mindedness and rigid resistance to compromise – are hardly “petty.”

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