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Glue That Binds Us As Americans Slipping Away

November 4, 2016

During my time in radio (1980’s) one of those lasting memories of bi-partisanship took place in which I played a part.  The owner of WDOR had been the county chair of the Republican Party.  For a couple years while employed at the station I was the county chair for the Democrats.  That might seem awkward–and I admit at first it did make me uneasy.  But in short order what might seem to have created stress turned into nice conversations about politics between the two of us.

It was during a presidential election season that we decided to make a public service announcement about voting.  He presented the idea to me and it was very much in line with how I had always felt about politics.  That being the end game is always what is best for the country.  And having people participate by voting and owning a part of the process is exactly where I have always lined up.

We sat in a small recording studio–just a short distance away from the main broadcast studio–where on the table top between two chairs stood the classic old-fashioned microphone that takes one back to the early 1950’s.  Boxy and rectangular it stood up on the table and recorded our desire to see a robust turnout for the election.

I thought of that far more simple time today when reading that “An overwhelming majority of voters are disgusted by the state of American politics, and many harbor doubts that either major-party nominee can unite the country after a historically ugly presidential campaign,” according to the final pre-election New York Times/CBS News Poll.

The results shows that more than eight in 10 voters say the campaign has left them repulsed rather than excited.  That is not how any of us should desire our nation to be–regardless of which party one calls home.

The invisible glue that always has united this nation is slowly loosening and in so doing allows for a far more fragmented citizenry.  For a number of years I have wondered if we are able to find the common points of our lives anymore to not only do the large things that must be accomplished–such as dealing with climate change–but also meet the out-sized challenges should another large terrorist attack occur on our homeland.

Frothy political arguments are how our nation was created.  But there has been from the start an understanding that compromises need to be part of the journey this country takes, too.  The lack of too many not seeking to bridge differences along with the relentless high-strung rhetoric on social media makes for a troubling situation that clearly will not end when the ballots are counted.

We really need to have more adult  conversations like two county party chairs once had.

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