Life in the Valley of Riches

Last week I made my annual journey east to watch a NASCAR race with my father, something we have been doing for 30 years. This year we went to the street race in Chicago and it did not disappoint. What was disappointing? I didn’t have a single dog or Italian beef sandwich.
Speaking of beef, the split between political left or right is moving in a bad direction. People are moving to states that are either deep red or dark blue based on their ideologies. I read an article about a retired cop from LA that moved to Idaho and felt free for the first time to fly his blue line flag, something he felt afraid to do in LA.
The article titled “Conservatives go to red states and liberals go to blue as the country grows more polarized” by Nicholas Riccardi of the Associated Press tells the tale of a same-sex couple in Texas who moved to Colorado and feel safe flying their gay pride flag, unlike when they lived in Texas.
The AP article continues with the breakdown of state government: “One party controls the entire legislature in all but two states. In 28 states, the party in control has a supermajority in at least one legislative chamber — which means the majority party has so many lawmakers that they can override a governor’s veto. Not that it would be necessary in most cases, as only 10 states have governors of different parties than the one that controls the legislature.” You can read the story starting on A-8.
But what about those of us that are moderates? My wife and I are both middle of the road people. Some issues we are more conservative about, while others, more liberal. With states adopting laws based on which extreme party is in control, they are leaving out the desires of a majority of its residents – nonaffiliated or moderate centrists of either party.
Oregon is a prime example of how states ignore the fact that not every law is appropriate for every community.
I totally understand that people, not acres, vote and that is why Oregon is a dark blue state, but seriously, Josephine is far from an urban area and our needs are different from those in Portland, Salem and Eugene.
The political split has also given the word patriot different meanings.
To some, a patriot will follow its leader blindly while others hold the belief that you can train a monkey to stand on a street corner, but that does not make it a patriot. Just because a patriot loves his, her or their country does not mean they are happy with it. It certainly does not mean they are willing to fight a civil war; there is no civility in that.
Now everyone is swinging for the fence instead of playing small ball, taking little wins instead of home runs. We need to get back to the time when we could have dialogue with the other side of the aisle; where compromise is a positive thing. As my dad always says, a good negotiation is when both sides walk away from the table thinking they could have gotten more.
You want to make America great again? Let’s try a little more civility and kindness. Yeah, that would be a good start.
Thanks for picking up this week’s paper. Enjoy! ~djm