ROCKWALL, TX (July 18, 2022) Do you ever wonder why our country is so divided today? When did it really start and why did it happen so fast? What caused it? Here is a superficial look of one person’s opinion.
Politically, economically, and just in general, things were going along OK in the second term of President Ronald Reagan.
Reagan had inherited the dismal economic climate of the Carter administration where interest rates on home purchases were in the high teens and the US was struggling to recover its economic stability. His first term was controversial as disagreements were common on both sides of the political aisle.
During his second term, Tip O’Neal, a solid democrat, became Speaker of the House. Reagan and O’Neal developed a strong working relationship as well as one of personal friendship. While disagreements on matters of State continued to exist between the two parties, civility became the major way in which issues were approached, discussed, and resolved. Representatives developed friendships among the opposing party and after sessions at local restaurants and bars were common.
Reagan was replaced by George H. Bush and two major issues quickly surfaced. One, and the most severe, was the pledge of Bush of “no new taxes’ when he was campaigning for office and then broken once he was elected. The second was the decision to go into Kuwait and Iraq in 1990. This started the endless war in the Middle East that went on for years without any obvious victory. This single act hung over five Presidents since that initial decision and has been one major factor that started the discontent we continue to see in the political arena.
Bush was replaced by Clinton, and while he was viewed favorably as a president, he is probably best remembered by most Americans as the President that was impeached in office for improper sexual activities. This action to impeach was violently objected to by Clinton’s political party which set the groundwork for the continued divide we are seeing today where every single Republican representative voted to impeach, and every single Democrat representative voted to not impeach. What in the world ever happened to individual choice when it came time to actually vote?
Clinton was replaced by George W. Bush who almost immediately after taking office had the horrific 9-11 event occur. The country rallied together, patriotism was evident everywhere…and even in the Congress for a short while. But as the war in Afghanistan continued, the previous division in the Congress once again surfaced and the divide among the people of the country started intensifying. The last year on Bush’s time in office was significantly mired with the economic collapse which further put doubts in our citizens minds of the ability of Washington and our Representatives to get together and fix the problems.
Bush was replaced by Obama and rather than being a unifier, as many people expected, things quickly turned the opposite way. Racial relations did not get better, many social programs introduced were strongly opposed by the opposite party, taxes were increased, and the war in the Middle East and Afghanistan became even more controversial as new strategies and new commanders on the ground kept being introduced by the President. The country appeared to be going more and more towards Socialism.
Obama’s term was due to expire in about a year and the primary process for selecting a new President got in full swing. Both parties had numerous candidates seeking the nominations, but it quickly became two individuals that stood out and were nominated: Hilary Clinton, wife of the former President, and Donald Trump, an unknown in the political world but well know because of his wealth and TV exposure.
Trump surprised the political world and was elected…and then the division really intensifies. While elected with a large majority, he never fit into the expected mold for a President. He was arrogant, disrespectful, brash, and outspoken. His policies were extremely effective, but because of his behavior, the opposite party spent his entire four years in office trying to get rid of him. He was impeached twice, and the parties became so polarized that any act of unity was abandoned before it had any chance of success. Hatred seemed to be the operative word rather than any type of cooperation.
Trump ran for a second term but was defeated by Joe Biden, a former Vice President under Obama.
Biden’s year and a half in office have been terrible. Rampant inflation, tax increases, more social programs being suggested, a disaster pullout in Afghanistan, and a lack of confidence in his ability to lead based upon his age and numerous gaffes in his presentations and actions have all contributed to the continued low approval ratings he receives. And already the opposite party has many individuals jockeying for a position to be nominated to run in 2024.
Combine all this political background with the issues of today; the recent Supreme Court decision, the change in our social system brought on by the LGBTQ advocates, the shooting in our schools and other venues, the movement towards WOKE training in our schools and military, and the accelerating inflation that people are enduring every day. Just a few of the examples that continue to fuel this divisiveness that exists.
How do you fix this problem of discontent and division? In the political arena, term limits might help…but the chance of the Representatives voting to make that happen is zero and none. It is going to take a ground swell from the citizens for that action to even have a chance.
Another idea is so far out in right field it too probably has no chance of success. But it might even work. Seat the Representatives side by side with no more all Democrats on the Left side of the room and the Republicans on the Right side of the room. Let them sit together in dual desks. It might really help…but such a bold idea!!
As for the non-political issues, hope, prayer, and a lot of hard work by a lot of dedicated people seems to be our best approach.
But remember. While we may have division, we are still the shinning light on the hill. If you don’t believe, it, just look at the 200,000 illegals coming across our Southern Border every month!! Keep the faith.
Submitted Letter to the Editor/Guest Column contributed by Jerry Hogan, a former Rockwall County Judge. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 214-394-4033.
Views expressed in Letters to the Editor are the opinion of sourced authors.
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