What is a blogger supposed to do when everything they thought they knew changes in one fell swoop? Bloggers get clicks for being controversial, not advocating a middle of the road approach or compromise. Since November 2016, this blogger has alternated between wanting to pull the covers over her head when the television news is on to talking back to the television when I get tired of the personal attacks and eye rolls that seemed to have replaced substantive news. Instead of positing thought provoking points to create dialogue, I have sat though one stupefying episode after the next, wondering whether saying nothing might be the most moderate thing to do. In fact, my love of parsing rhetoric to find the middle has now been reduced to a fascination nee obsession about what everyone else is doing while the President is talking. It’s like that game where two people see who is going to blink first. It’s just me marveling that no one has broken down and lost face in public. At least with the mannequin challenge, you’re allowed to let loose and laugh uproariously when the photo op is done.
A smarter blogger would have littered her social media with the terms “p234y” or “sh1thole.” Imagine the traffic! But this one was hoping that the President could do what the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seems to have done. A businessman from outside politics, he came in to a gravely serious situation where many people doubted his ability to execute and seems to have succeeded in dialing down the tension with North Korea, at least for the time being.
The truth is, while I didn’t vote for Donald Trump (or Hillary, for that matter), I secretly wanted him to succeed. I adore his daughter and at one point, admired his chutzpah. When my preferred candidates fell away, I thought Trump could be the guy that got into the revolving door at exactly the right time to give the candidate in front of him, Hillary Clinton, the bump she needed to exit stage left. I thought the biggest risk to our country would be more of the same.
It seems in this brave new world, you can’t win but for trying.
I spent years advocating for Gay Marriage in Missouri. Wouldn’t young people be drawn to work and live in states that were more tolerant and open minded, I wrote and said out loud to anyone who would listen. Then I saw a headline the other day on the cover of a think-ish national magazine, while standing in line at the grocery store, that said, “Gay Marriage has destroyed Gay Culture.” Is it me? You’re kidding.
I hope the Director of Homeland Security Kristjen Nielsen didn’t stay up too late doing research before that hearing the other day. “Exactly what cuss words did you hear, Ms. Nielsen?” “Well, there was strong language, Sir.” I felt like I was playing the game Twister but my feet and hands were on all the wrong spots. Wanting to reach towards the purple, to give the Senator from Newark a high five for being outraged over disparaging comments about African immigrants (?), my other hand was reaching even further to that winning spot where Cory Booker could follow his own advice to “elevate not denigrate.” Why not go “stille” on the obvious and use the hearing to break new ground by asking the Secretary of Homeland Security how she would introduce merit while maintaining compassion in Immigration reform?
I continue to be amazed at the disconnect between what the average citizen wants or agrees on and what happens inside the only-insiders-allowed mirage called the nation’s capital. Is everybody stoned? Is that why no work seems to be getting done in Washington, DC? That is a joke. Admittedly a bad one. But I am serious when I say it concerns me that the only two things Americans seem to agree on lately is the legalization of marijuana and the need to avert a shutdown. I love the image of New York Senator Chuck Schumer and The Donald secretly negotiating a spending bill compromise while noshing on cheeseburgers. Not exactly Cheech and Chong. More like Chuck and Don. Too bad it didn’t work.
The way the shutdown played out was predictable. Votes were ultimately cast along party lines. The reasonable Republicans and Democrats working towards a bipartisan compromise were humored then marginalized in the 11th hour. Cue: Minority leader Nancy Pelosi who probably knew what gift she was going to give the President on the anniversary of his inauguration a year ago. A giant right back at ya! Yes, polls did show more Americans cared about passing the spending bill than they did about guaranteeing the Dreamers could stay. The part Madame Pelosi missed was voters wanted Congress to pass a spending bill.
The closest thing to an eye-opening headline for me was when one commentator said something about the fact that Republicans may be trying to test their theory that many federal agencies and departments could be run with a fraction of the staff. That and the fact that Congress still gets paid in the event of a shutdown but military families will have to wait for compensation in the event a family member in the Service is killed during the Shutdown. What?
The bottom line is it isn’t hard to compromise. Every parent on this plant knows how to broker compromise. It starts with the acknowledgement that not reaching an agreement is a fail for all involved.