‘Us vs. them’ creates gridlock
Today there is much bemoaning of governmental gridlock. Nobody in government seems to be willing or able to work together to address major challenges facing our country. It’s easy for us as voters to forget we collectively elected the people we complain about. How did we manage to do that?
A big reason is we have become much more interested in the person we vote for than in his or her policies. Let me give two examples. The political left has been largely uncritical of President Obama’s use of drones. Yet it is pretty generally admitted that if George W. Bush had done the same, those same liberals would howl in protest.
On the other hand, conservatives have harshly criticized President Obama’s increasing of our national debt. Yet when Ronald Reagan significantly increased the debt, conservatives were in agreement.
My point here is not the rightness or wrongness of drone strikes or deficits. My point is how we approach them. If our guy is doing it, then it’s fine. If their guy is doing it, then it’s very bad.
This “us versus them” mentality is a major factor in today’s gridlock. Too often, neither side is willing to give the other side credit for even basic human decency, much less good ideas. Yet a key element of political progress is being willing to work together, let everyone bring something to the table, and let everyone have credit for success. Voters need to be willing to do that, and we need to be willing to let our elected leaders do that. Until that happens, I do not see much hope for any real change, only for more blaming of our opponents.
Jay Miller, Blair, Neb.
Get together, get real, Congress
Seriously now, folks. We’re to believe either party in this fiscal cliff argument?
Democrats threaten weakened defense, inferior education for the kids and rampant crime in the streets. The Republicans ask the Democrats to cut spending but don’t really specify where.
Why can’t both sides stop this infantile charade and address the “elephant in the room” if you will? That is the federal system of benefits and pensions and waste of tax dollars. These are the true causes that must be rectified.
Let’s get together, you politicians, and put your money where your mouth is!
Bill Manning, Omaha
Not spooked by sequester scare
We are inundated these days with what the sequester will mean. Furloughs, slower lines at airports, fewer air traffic controllers, etc. This is largely a ruse used by governmental units whenever threatened by budget cuts.
The City of Omaha and the Omaha school board both use them regularly. If governments must reduce their expenditures, it is up to those in charge to make real cuts by reducing staff permanently, finding new and cheaper ways to deliver services. While I believe the sequester was a very poor way to go about cuts, responsible leaders in federal agencies can live with less without depleting services if they want to. If not, how can we ever cut enough to eliminate the deficit?
Tim Rouse, Omaha
Loosen reins on political parties
The World-Herald’s lead editorial Friday rightly expressed concern that Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, who indicated that he might consider running to replace Sen. Mike Johanns, was immediately attacked by the Washington-based Senate Conservative Fund as being inadequately “conservative.”
Recently, many conservatives and Tea Party individuals were up in arms because a political group headed by Karl Rove gave an indication that they may not support Iowa Congressman Steve King in a primary race to replace Sen. Tom Harkin. Unfortunately, it would be best for all concerned if these national groups would stay out of primary races and focus on general elections.
However, given the highly charged political atmosphere that exists, and given current campaign laws, that will not happen. One unfortunate ramification of current campaign financing is the limits to funding by local party organizations, giving national campaign groups great power.
It would be helpful if the limits on the parties were removed, giving local and state party organizations greater power and influence, as opposed to national pressure groups’ attempting to influence local elections with their significant funding.
G.R. Florine, Omaha
Protection worth more gun laws
I have a simple response to John Jorgenson’s Feb. 22 Pulse letter: It is better that 20 innocent children not be shot multiple times and killed than for one person to be able to purchase an AK-47.
Also, when the Second Amendment was written, AK-47s and large magazine clips were not around. They should not be used now other than by soldiers at war. It’s very simple — these items are not needed in homes or for hunting.
Janice Mohs, Omaha
Show should not have gone on
As I saw the snow pile up and followed all of the cancellations Thursday, I saw that the Shrine Circus would still hold its Thursday night performance in Omaha, even though officials were telling everyone not to go out.
People who bought tickets could exchange them for other shows, but people who had to work the show didn’t have that option. They had to fight the snow.
Officials had the sense to cancel the UNO hockey game. Whoever — MECA or the Shrine Circus — decided not to cancel the circus should be ashamed of their decision.
Tim Backora, Omaha
Donor was a different CHC
In an article on donations to political candidates on Tuesday, The World-Herald noted a campaign contribution of $15,000 by CHC Nebraska. That organization should not be confused with Community Health Charities of Nebraska (CHC-NE) which supports nonprofit health charities that serve individuals across the state. As a nonprofit federation, Community Health Charities of Nebraska never makes political donations.
President and CEO Michelle Grossman, Omaha
Community Health Charities of Nebraska
(Editor’s note: The donation was made by Coventry Health Care.)