Not Buck Turgison at the Richmond War Room suggests that what we need to bring comity and civility back to politics is a landslide. He suggests that in the wake of the Clinton impeachment and the Bush v. Gore we need an election with a clear winner where no one could dispute the results.
I think it is a great idea. I too wish for another 1984 Reagan style landslide. However, I think for the time being we are beyond that, and what we need less than a landslide is a real leader.
Our republic is more divided than at anytime in my memory. It is not just a matter of division on a single major issue, something like Vietnam or the Civil War. Instead, it is a million small fissures that lead us all to be less connected and less willing to see the good in others.
Long commutes, lengthy business travel and electronic communication have eroded face to face communication. We buy on the internet or from the big box store, and the small town merchant whose shop served both commerce and communication is disappearing. We are more seperate than united.
Out politicians are not helping. They play gotcha and try to dazzle us with sweet nothings instead of substance…and we let them. Yep, we are not helping, either.
The Internet has not helped. Blogging, discussion boards, and other venues offer a method for everyone to have their say with an anonimity that negates any need to self-govern what they say, and by doing so ratchet up the temperature by giving full roar to any new bizarre idea or conspiracy theory that comes along.
Our country used to claim to be a melting pot, where all sought a significant degree of cultural assimilation from language to clothing. Now the goal is a mosaic, where everyone seeks to be a hyphenated american as if they somehow would magically give up all claim to their family tree if they don’t trumpet their background.
Maybe the hostility has never been far away. Maybe the miracle that these differences have stayed under wraps for so long. I still sit in wonder that a country like Yugoslavia, that significantly withstood soviet interference and was cultural beacon behind the Iron Curtain would, upon the death of Tito, devolve into a killing field that combined the worst elements of ethnic hatred and religious fervor.
No, I don’t think a single election can cure the ills that haunt us. I think a single leader can.
I believe there is a leader out there who can remind us of what this country is and has been for so many generations-a beacon of freedom that represents the best hope of mankind. A leader who is willing to not only tell us that we are still a shining city on a hill, but is also willing to make the tough decisions that will allow us to shine for generations to come. A leader who will focus on means and not ends, and will not think the only way to maintain our security is to sacrifice out freedom.
I yearn for a leader who wants us to respond to the better angels of our nature, and not push upon us the worst instincts of our fears…and when that person comes, regardless of party, I will be voting for them.
Yes, I want a lot. But I bet if we find that person, regardless of sex or ethnicity or color, then we just might also find that landslide that Not Buck so desperately wants.