Like many of you I have worn myself out watching and listening to the various political ads during this long drawn out election cycle. The attack ads from both parties, PAC’s, and various groups have been filled with vitriol and many unsubstantiated charges. What’s even more unfortunate is the media has been just as complicit with their reporting. What happened to unbiased (or at least less biased) media reporting?
The sad thing is our country is more divided than ever. If you’re like me, I am extremely hesitant to even bring up politics in mixed groups for fear of inciting a riot. There is no longer any room for lively discourse or open discussion and agreeing to disagree. You’re either for us or against us. There is no middle ground. If you look back to the early days of this country, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson carried on their debate over state’s rights for years while maintaining a respectful and cordial friendship. Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act when Republican Senator Everett Dirksen crossed the aisle in support. Doubt we would ever see Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell that genial.
Another sad example of how far we have strayed is an amendment on the Illinois ballot that will legally bind the Illinois legislature to only spend taxes and fees collected for transportation infrastructure funding to be used for that purpose. How sad that the only way we can get these legislators to do their job is by passing laws to force them to do the right thing.
So why are we surprised to see this attitude and tone in our Congress? No one is to blame for the current state of affairs than the American people. We elected these folks and we continue to put them back into office term after term while decrying the lack of term limits. We have the power to limit those terms but don’t use it. Why do we allow Congress to continue to ignore the fact that we elected the President and he (or maybe she) is our choice and they need to respect the office (even when they disagree with the person) and allow the executive branch to do their job as they need to do theirs? It doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you’re on. This is pervasive on both sides without exception.
As we head into Tuesday’s election it is more important than ever that voters make their voices heard and their choices accepted by everyone involved in the democratic process. Until we all accept responsibility for our choices nothing will change.
I realize this missive strays from my usual transportation focused narrative, but the outcome of this election will determine our future as a country. Issues like highway funding, over-regulation, and gridlock will continue until or unless something changes.