Here in the states it seems as soon as we have slogged through the rank bogs of an election year, feeling battered and bruised, with the mud of the campaign still drying on our cheeks, we are immediately thrown right back into the fray. The rancorous fight continues. There is no longer even a pretense of bi-partisanship for the good of the country. Two years ago, my own state senator, in citing reasons to vote for him for re-election, declared it his mission to go to Washington and work to block the President’s policies, no matter what they were. And it seems he is not alone in this odd definition of his senatorial commission. Consequently, we are saddled with a maladroit congress, one impoverished of the sort of wisdom and intellectual dexterity that has, in the past, allowed our government to move forward, however incrementally, despite our well-defined differences. It is a frustrating time. It is an angry time. It is a sad time.
Even though the presidential election is still fourteen months away, the opposing party has been holding debates for the past several weeks, providing us with a glimpse into their ranks of supporters that has been eye-opening and, quite frankly, disturbing. First there were the audience cries of “let him die” when candidate Ron Paul was asked about those who become ill sans health insurance. Then came the audience cheers and whistles when Texas governor, Rick Perry, was asked about the 234 people his state has put to death during his time in office. Most recently, there was the booing and jeering of a gay soldier whose video taped question from Iraq was put to candidate Rick Santorum.
As chilling as these crowd reactions were, the most disturbing part was the lack of response from the candidates themselves, a silence that led me to conclude either they were in total agreement with those vociferous audience members or, equally unsettling, they lacked the moral courage to dispute them.
In speaking about these crowd reactions this past weekend President Obama said, “This is not reflective of who we are”. I fervently pray he is right. For I am finding it a sorrowful thing to be ashamed of my own countrymen.
“Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak whispers to the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.”