A wonderful political advertisement went viral as millions watched it online. It was not broadcast in Arizona, since it featured the two candidates for governor of Utah. The two men appeared together on the screen; the Democrat wore a blue tie and the Republican had a red one. Each light-heartedly recommended a vote for himself. They emphasized that, although they disagreed on many items, they vowed to respect each other and work together after the election for the sake of Utah.
After campaigns where opponents accused each other of vile doings, it was refreshing to hear an intelligent and rational approach to political competition. How different this ad was from supporters of President Trump predicting that if Biden won, we would become Venezuela and Biden supporters claiming that a Trump victory would end democracy in our nation.
To demonstrate how virulent the campaign has been, allow me to relate an incident in my own family. A male relative and a female relative have been exceptionally close for more than 40 years. He lives in New Jersey, she resides in Florida, and they talk regularly via telephone. She opposes the president and he strongly supports President Trump. During a recent conversation, she stated that Trump was like Hitler. He became so incensed that he slammed down his phone and vowed to never talk with her again.
Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi, as respective leaders in their congressional houses, swore oaths to protect the Constitution, yet they bicker, refuse to compromise, and the American population suffers. When we desperately require leadership, we get stubborn inertia. We can do better!
What is the answer to our national dilemma? Can we take a lesson from the two gubernatorial contestants in Utah? How about recalling the relationship between the late Justices Scalia and Ginsburg? They absolutely opposed each other’s views yet were able to respect each other and become close friends. If they could get along, why can’t Pelosi and McConnell?
Another example of political opposites working together could be seen at the funerals of George H.W. Bush and John McCain. The Clintons, Bushes and Obamas sat together and greeted each other as friends. Despite their political battles, they found ways to work with each other on important projects and to create positive relationships.
Although the type of strong, positive leadership we need at the White House is not available in this year’s election, hopefully in 2024 we can have a choice between two candidates who replicate the Utah ad. If I could wave a wand and place an appropriate person as president, I would opt for a non-politician with significant government experience, such as Bob Gates or Condi Rice, but that is only a dream. We can do better; we MUST do better!
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