Whole lotta griping and moaning going on about the doings in Washington (that’s sure a bunch of “ing’s” in one sentence).
Don’t get me wrong. People have a point. When one of the biggest stories to come out of our nation’s capital is that of a congressman’s colorful use of his Twitter, it’s apparent that something stinks on the Potomac.
Sure, I have my opinions. I’m probably not much different than this pundit or that. Many’s the time I’ve blasted off a letter to my representative in Congress to give them a piece of my mind. Only to get a form letter and solicitation to subscribe to their free newsletter in return.
That being said, I try to couch my viewpoints respectfully and without personal rancor. I have little patience for remorseless, vitriolic, ad hominem attacks (pulled out all the stops for that literary gem, huh?). One would think they are at levels which are unprecedented in American history.
If you think that, you would be wrong.
In this age of the internet and the 24/7 news cycle, we have instant access to news around the world and a dog which can say “I love you.” It wasn’t like that when I was a kid. Television doesn’t go to a test pattern at 2 am anymore and there's an alphabet soup of news channels from which to choose.
We live in a wonderful “Age of Communication.”
Of course, Anthony Weiner might disagree about that “wonderful” thing.
So, with all this finger-pointing going around at the speed of light, it just seems like we live in a new era of personal attacks.
Actually, we’ve been complaining about each other pretty much ever since we threw England out of here.
The bickering between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson was remorseless, Andrew Jackson was accused of wedding a married woman (well, he kinda did), Lincoln was called a “baboon,” Grover Cleveland was lambasted for fathering a love child, Harding for the same (before he died of a stomachache), people swore Kennedy took his orders from the Vatican, and Nixon was called “Dick.”
(NOTE: The above “March Through American History” was done completely by memory. I’m too lazy to look up any facts. If there are any inaccuracies, please don’t consider this an indictment of the Pennridge School District. I grew up in Connecticut).
So, even though you may think personal slurs are a new wrinkle, they’re really not. Animosity towards those in power hasn’t changed since Aaron Burr left a flaming bag of dog poop on Alexander Hamilton’s front porch (before he shot him).
Whether a donkey, elephant, or whatever, we’re all the same. Americans who feel genuine love for their country. And, even though some of us profoundly disagree with our politicians, I have to think we haven’t lost sight of that which makes us special.
(NOTE: Yes, I know there are those who couldn’t care less about being an American. I’m not that naive. But, I’m positive they’re in the minority. Certainly not like those Spanish-speaking gentlemen who sat behind me at a recent Trenton Thunder game and sang-sang!-the National Anthem).
Unemployment is up, our credit rating is threatening to go down, and there’s a long line of people around the world who want their free “Death To America” tee shirt. But, be of good cheer. We’ll get through this. We always have.
If you doubt the optimism out there, I encourage you to take a walk along Perkasie’s 3rd Street, between Menlo Park and Walnut Street. One of the most stirring spots in the local area, it seems like every house is festooned with an American flag (okay, there’s one Swiss flag, but I think that’s for the Ski Patrol).
You’d think you’d wandered into a Used Car lot.
But, no. You’ve wandered into a street of Americans.