Getting old has given me a perspective on America that recalls times when Republicans and Democrats respected one another and worked together for the greater good. My parents were Republicans and, like many of their Republican and Democrat friends, were generous, community-oriented people. Juneau still has people like that. That's why it's a good town. Alaska was like that. It had a live-and-let-live philosophy, which I loved. Though I'm more a Democrat than anything else, my favorite governor is still Jay Hammond.
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In the 1980s, a narrow, polarized, black-and-white view started growing throughout the country, leading us to George W. Bush's edict to the world: "You're either with us or against us."
One bitter lesson I've learned is that the laws of our country can be ignored if you are ruthless and you're in the majority. The George W. Bush era started with a contested election in which the Florida recount was halted by the U.S. Supreme Court which, voting along party lines, selected Bush as president.
Since that legally dubious, partisan beginning, Bush and his congressional supporters have followed suit. Tom DeLay's successful redistricting scam in Texas to stack the deck with Republican congressmen, the Valerie Plame scandal emanating from the vice president's office, the conflating of al-Qaida with Iraq to start a war on an innocent people, war profiteering in Iraq by Halliburton and others, Bush's breaking the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to spy on American citizens. The witch's brew of lies and incompetence characterizing this administration should have Americans and Congress planning impeachment.
Bush's approval rating is at 34 percent. Richard Nixon's was around 34 percent when he was on the verge of being impeached for the Watergate scandal. If Nixon had a Republican majority in congress at the time, would they have just looked the other way, ignoring Nixon's lies and criminality like Bush's Republican supporters in the current Congress? I think there were many Republicans of that generation who were as outraged by Nixon's willingness to break the law as were Democrats.
In that time, objecting to lies, cronyism, corruption and torture wouldn't have been derided by talk show hosts as just the antics of partisan politicians. It might have been called moral and patriotic, because there was more at stake than raw power. There was the U.S. Constitution and America's ideals, just like now.