Looking Left and Right: Just Oppose, Dammit!



Our political system is set up in a way in which it’s very hard for an opposition party to be open to participating in any solutions to that because that would legitimize the party in power, which would keep them from getting there. And so they are engaged now in an ever more permanent campaign to obstruct, defeat, discredit, repeal anything that is done by – usually defined as – the president’s party….
But I think just as importantly, it’s [the Republican Party] become a party that believes it’s essential to stick to your principles and not engage in any kind of collaboration with – negotiating or compromise with – the enemy, which is defined as the other party. That’s unusual. And then you put that together with simply no respect for facts, for evidence, for science, and add to that the willingness to simply reject the legitimacy of the other side….
The peaceful transfer of power, the respect for the office of the presidency, the willingness to say, ‘We have our differences, it’s important to discuss those but in the end we’re all Americans,’ and so on, that’s rejected by a whole lot of Republicans right now.




Is anyone on the Right paying attention to what happens as the nonsense and the misleading messages play themselves out? Try as they might to ignore this critical factor, it’s inevitable: ideology enacted has benefits as well as consequences. It may be preferable to focus on the former, but the latter carries the potential for much greater and enduring impact.

I’m disheartened by this now-standard political M.O., and not just because this shortsighted and narrow-minded approach to “leadership” and governing will create so many more problems for us all in the years to come. What’s just as troubling is the great silence from what I still believe are millions of honorable conservative citizens who find nothing especially troubling about the win-today-at-all costs-consequences-be-damned methodology.

Responsible GOP leadership has become a vanishing breed. The Trump campaign is proof-positive that principles have become mere advisories, like weather and traffic reports. If winning is of prime importance, with consequences and outcomes secondary considerations at best, then blowhard nonsense isn’t worth getting riled up about. Putting a “W” in the Win column is all that matters. If only that were true….

Starting in the 1980s, the GOP has set themselves up not as the party of better governance, or even good governance. They’ve set themselves up as the party of anti-governance. Since Reagan declared ‘government is the problem,’ Republicans have worked hard to build an identity as the party that’s not out to reform Washington, but out to destroy it. By cementing this identification, they feel there’s nothing to lose, and everything to gain, in making the system fail.
In setting themselves as the ‘government is bad’ party, the GOP feels that every failure of government only confirms their message, only makes their position stronger. It’s something like the pattern in which a pyromaniac starts fires so he can have an opportunity to become a hero … only the GOP lets the fires burn, because their goal is to prove that the fire department is useless. The Republican Party is hell-bent on a United States government that is weak, insolvent, and incompetent. And they’re getting what they want.




Blind insistence on getting government out of the way without recognizing what is needed in this day and age, and understanding ahead of time what happens when they get what they profess to want, is not nearly the wisest approach to governing—or even co-existing!

But as with most behaviors—Left or Right—founded on unyielding ideologies, there are consequences. This blind, extremist-inspired headlong dash down the path of “no government, ever” thinking has real-world implications, and no immunity is granted to those huddling under the same ideological umbrella. “No government” is not an answer to the challenges we face.

Historically, nothing has terrified conservatives so much as efficient, effective, activist government….
One reason: Governing well in the interests of the broad majority brings compounding political benefits for the party of government….The mortal fear is that if government delivers the goods, the Republicans have no future.
The fear easily escalates unto hysteria: Activist government is a fraud in its very essence, an awesomely infernal political perpetual motion machine….
[G]overnment’s effectiveness only redoubles the political resolve of conservatism to fight against it.

Citizens need to start paying at least a little bit of attention not just to objectionable tactics. The bigger challenge and the greater responsibility is to understand that short-term political victories to perpetuate a policy of obstruction and an ongoing rejection of election mandates by the majority have long-lasting consequences … assuming the future matters.

When citizens rail at the demonized federal government and urge their conservative leaders to trim back spending [mostly directed to the middle and lower class], when do they start to recognize and understand that their leaders will do so at their long-term expense as well?


~ My Photo: Sunset at a Gloucester, MA marina  ©


Looking Left and Right:
Inspiring Different Ideas, Envisioning Better Tomorrows

Be the change you want in the world Gandhi

The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm, but because
of those who look at it without doing anything Albert Einstein


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As I state in the “About Me” section, I’m driven by an intense commitment to learn why those on the conservative side of the fence view so many matters of great importance to us all so differently than do those of us on the progressive side. Those contrasting behaviors, beliefs, and ideologies are contributing factors to the very problems we’re trying to solve—the ones we must solve if our own ambitions and our hopes for a peaceful and prosperous world we leave to our children are to be well-served.

If we don’t recognize and accept that bitter partisanship is not always the wisest or most beneficial strategy, the goal of a better future will forever be as far away tomorrow as it is today.

The late Senator Paul Wellstone’s observation continues to hold far more truth and power than we give it credit:

We all do better when we all do better

Why make setting up inevitable and enduring conflict the primary objective of policy and planning?

* I invite you to enjoy my two books [here and here], and to view my other   blogs–at this website website [see the link above] and also at Peak Oil Matters