The election a week ago had been called the most important in our country’s history, and if you are like me, you were more than ready for it to be over. The extreme polarization of our nation has never been more real than it is today. Attack ads, mudslinging, lies, distortions, empty promises, and more than a billion campaign dollars have worn down the American people.
I wonder when we will see our political system mature past grade-school tactics so that we can come together and develop real solutions to the very real and serious issues that face us as a people.
Unfortunately, we are not viewed as Americans anymore, but as Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. Instead of seeking truth and commonality, we are being led down a destructive road of allegiance to ideology rather than allegiance to this great nation we live in. The labels and language that now proliferate are divisive and derisive. What ever happened to “We the People”?
Let’s face it. We are up against a massive tide of problems that threaten our future. Massive debt compounded by out-of-control spending. Public health epidemics, such as obesity, that cause already high health care costs to rise even more. Infrastructures like bridges, power plants, drinking water piping, and wastewater treatment have received near failing grades from the American Society of Civil Engineers. (The ASCE 2009 Infrastructure GPA was a D.) Gas and food prices have escalated significantly in recent years, squeezing ever-tightening family budgets. Environmental concerns escalate as we continue to realize the consequences of our decisions.
Our morality has taken a nose dive to the depths of our infrastructure’s GPA…or lower. More than 20 million are unemployed and under-employed. And our national security (physical, fiscal, and technological) seems shaky at best. But what do we do?
We lack the leadership to tackle these issues in a truly bipartisan manner, and there is no sign of that changing. Our political leaders continue to fall in line with their respective parties, whether it is good for the country or not. Even our journalists, who have traditionally been viewed as the fourth branch of government, spout ideology rather than truth.
We have been painted up as red states and blue states. But I believe that there is a growing majority of us that long to be painted a different color, one that looks past party affiliation and realizes that the issues we face are American issues. Oh, for a renewed view of America that blends red and blue together and emerges united and together…that is purple. We need purple ideas to solve the purple problems that are before us.
This election was important as the two candidates for president, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, offered very different visions for what America would look like. As with every vote, it was important for each voter to choose the candidate that aligned most closely with their individual principles and ideals. But now that it is over, it is vital for us to embrace each other as brothers and sisters, looking past ideological barriers that have constrained us, so that we can move forward united, strengthened by the diversity that has always made the United States of America a great nation. It is in the color purple that we will find ourselves again.
Kevin P. Bradford