For several years I have eaten lunch on Wednesdays with a group of men of different ages and representing a cross section of businesses and professions. We are not at all bashful about expressing our differing political loyalties, ranging from the far left to the far right and everything in between. Yet, we are always very respectful of each other's beliefs and positions, and many times we learn by discussing the core positions we respectively adhere to. And we certainly do not engage in name-calling or berating one another's personal character or integrity.
We often joke, as we are leaving "The Table," as we call it," that if the president of the United States would only call us we could provide him with very practical solutions for the various problems he faces. We wonder why it is that he and both houses of the United States Congress cannot do the same thing. Why is it that there is gridlock in Washington?
Our first instinct is to blame the main players on the political forefront in Washington -- that is, the president, the speaker of the House, and the majority leader of the Senate. Certainly they and their colleagues and staffs deserve much of the blame, but the blame goes beyond them.
There are the media -- newspapers, periodicals, radio, and TV -- that rightly point out and find fault with all the negative rhetoric, yet nurture and promote the very negativism they criticize with their overly biased and sometimes crude editorials and commentary.
Then there are the savage ads of political action groups from both sides of the aisle that the respective candidates supposedly have no control over. Yet, the candidates do not repudiate the demeanor or content of these partisan and many times less-than-honest ads.
There's plenty of blame to go around, but simply finding fault doesn't accomplish anything. We need practical solutions. The politicians in Washington could take a lesson from healthy marriages. Yes, there are disagreements and divergent opinions in any marriage on many fronts, but the husband and wife of a lasting marriage find responsible and workable ways to discuss and resolve their differences. Maybe we need some marriage counselors on the ground in Washington!
Surely it's possible for the politicians to find ways to discuss and resolve their differences that lead to the unacceptable gridlock that currently has its grip on Washington. Anyway, this is what I suggest.
• Our elected office holders from both sides of the aisle need to concentrate on the welfare and future of our country rather than on their personal political futures and biases and work together in passing responsible legislation with long-range solutions.
• The media needs to stop their overly biased approach to commentary and honestly report the news rather than going overboard in promoting their personal political preferences.
• We as voters need to communicate our disdain of this type of negativism to the local, state, and federal leaders of our respective political parties and to the local and national members of the media.
• And all of should concentrate on the long-range welfare of the United States of America.
In my opinion, it is possible for gridlock in Washington to be resolved. But for this to happen all of us -- yes, you and I -- will have to stop pointing fingers and, instead, sincerely work for the degree of political unity that leads to the end of gridlock.