The Inauguration.

The Inauguration.

(Reflections on the eve of the Inauguration)

We are hired by Democrats to raise money from Republicans.  Ok, I admit that’s a gross generalization, but we do have our feet firmly in both camps.  Colleen is at times surprised by the comfort with which I move between the two.  I find it relatively easy.  Except for the kooks on both sides of the spectrum, I believe that the vast majority in this country agree on our goals, we just disagree on the policies that are going to get us there.  I can get excited discussing policy differences, I just don’t get mad.   No one is evil because they believe in Monetary .v. Fiscal Policy.

Which brings me to Jack.  We have been friends since 1978.  He was the first, closest and best friend I made on emigrating to the US.  We were even in business together for a time.  That didn’t work well because we spent so much time laughing that any project we worked on took twice as long as necessary. During this 30 year period we have never agreed politically, and for most of it, it couldn’t have mattered less.  We knew that we were never going to change each others opinion but enjoyed defending our views.  Even though I believed that he was consistently wrong on his political choices I also knew that he was incapable of encountering anyone in pain or suffering or need without offering to help.

This situation continued through Carter, Reagan, Bush One, Clinton and the beginning of Bush Two.  The change occurred sometime after 9/11.  It was not 9/11 itself because there was never a time when the country, if not the entire world, was more cohesive in their beliefs.

It was the sometime during the war in Iraq.  Not right at the start, but sometime near the beginning of the campaign, two trends began.  Firstly it became obvious that there were no WMD’s and the campaign was not being run competently. Concurrently the administration began assuming that any criticism revealed a lack of patriotism.  If you supported the administration you were no longer able to tolerate opposing viewpoints.  Your opponents were not just wrong, but were unpatriotic and endangering the country by enabling foreign terrorists.  Political discourse came to a grinding halt.   For even truly great friends like Jack and I.

One of my greatest hopes for this new administration is this acrimony will evaporate.  We have far more in common than than that which separates us. Everyone wants children to be safe, nourished and educated.  We all want the sick to receive care and to discover cures for the diseases that decimate us.  We want the Arts to flourish, the air to be clean, the elderly to be cared for, our friends and families to be safe, and the list goes on.

Our differences are in our priorities and choice of policy. We should be able to discuss these with passion but not anger.  The country is faced with serious problems.  We stand no chance of solving them if we unable to discuss them without getting mad.  The first step is to recognize the good intentions of your opponents.  It’s hard to get mad at someone who is trying to do good.

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