by JS O’Brien
I am in my 50s. In my lifetime, I have seen partisan politics become increasingly bitter, increasingly childish, and increasingly focused on personal, political wins at America’s expense. When the chairman of the Federal Reserve and Warren Buffet tell me that the American financial system needs an influx of capital in order to keep from collapsing, I tend to believe they believe it, and if they believe it, given their level of expertise, I would generally take their advice.
Today, American politics passed a threshold. If anyone thought that our politicians, especially in the GOP, still care more about America than their own re-election campaigns; if anyone thought they still had a core of political courage that could, in extremis, overcome their own, petty rivalries; if anyone thought there was still a kernel of greatness in an American political landscape that produced the likes of Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Abraham Lincoln, I doubt they still believe today. Their OWN PRESIDENT, their PARTY LEADER, came to the House Republicans and told them that this is a grave crisis, and even then they scuttled the agreement.
America is badly, deeply broken. I’ve resisted this conclusion for some time. Naively, I have believed that there were still enough politicians and leaders (I almost choke over that word) and freakin’ patriots to come together at a time of crisis and do what has to be done, odious as that may be, to do what’s best for all of us.
Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. How naive those words sound now. How … utterly laughable. How cynical we’ve become.
Today, I learned that my Uncle, a man who fought at Tarawa and Leyte and flies the US and Marine flags every day, is dying of bladder cancer. I have shed many tears this morning, but perhaps it’s fitting that, as he dies, the US I once knew dies with him.