It's time for rethinking, new ideas
September 20, 2017
The United States has become more like the rest of the world these days.
More Americans are marching, demonstrating, and too often threatening or using violence to make their point.
It used to be that Americans would shake their heads and wonder how people in the rest of the world could riot over issues that we would watch Congress debate, saving any of our mild rancor for the ballot box.
Declining prospects, however, seem to be driving more Americans to extremes.
Only a diminishing number of people, whose fortunes have skyrocketed at the expense of good jobs, good pay and employee benefits, seem to be getting richer.
People are frustrated and while fingers are still pointing, more fists are now shaking.
The alt-right and alt-left are gaining numbers. The alt-right blames immigration and international relations. The alt-left blames racism and corporations.
Neither group allows compromise.
And yes, the alt-left’s masked “antifa (antifascist)” provocateurs are just as extreme and offensive as their violent counterparts on the far right.
Further, neither makes sense.
Right-wing dictators rule by fiat, not law. Left-wing dictators are nothing more than right-wing dictators, laws unto themselves, with the feeble justification that “dictatorship of the proletariat” must come before the workers’ paradise. Marx said it, the alt-left thinks, so it must be true.
While more Americans line up with extremes, our conventional political conversations also make compromise almost impossible.
Congress is reacting with horror as President Trump, with his usual bull-in-a-china-shop subtlety, has openly begun dialogue with Congressional Democrats on legislation that would allow citizenship for immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.
In return, he wants Democrat support for stricter immigration controls.
He has crossed the aisle because Republicans have developed too many rigid orthodoxies among their ranks to compromise, even among themselves.
On the other hand, while the Republican majority in Congress has put dismantling Obamacare’s giveaways on hold, Bernie Sanders and a few other Democrats are preparing to introduce “Medicare for all,” the ultimate health-care giveaway.
Guess how far that bill will get with Republican majorities? I have to ask why Sanders is wasting tax money on this lost cause.
It’s a time for finding middle ground, but heels are only digging deeper into the sand.
People are fed up. They keep hearing the same, tired solutions from the same unbending sources, and they are bombarded with either-or demands from all sides.
Times have changed. New situations require new solutions, but political leaders can only spout party lines that have not changed in decades.
Maybe it’s time for re-thinking rather than rehashing. And maybe it’s time for Americans to start demanding some new ideas instead of fighting over old ones.
Steve Hansen writes about our life and times from his perspective of a retired Tucumcari journalist. Contact him at: