Thomas A. Beardshall
Like some of the other commentors, I have been a life-long Republican (although I should state up front that I am more of a Rockefeller/Schweiker/Specter Republican than a Goldwater/Tea Party Republican).
But, to get to the current situation, I would like to make the following observations:
1. Playing "Chicken Little" is an addictivie game. Saying "Oh my God, the sky is about to fall" gives you a sense of focus and direction and purpose in life and enough stress to provide a constant adrenaline rush. It provides you with justification for a sense of righteous indignation about the way the world is heading, and tends to lead to ignoring the realities of the world around you. I get a steady diet of this from a close relative, who is politically somewhat to the right of Atilla the Hun and collects survivalist food supplies and guns in preparation against immanent disaster. The fact is that for much of our adult lives we have been bombarded with predictions of disasters which have not happened. Generally, we manage to keep on muddling through. Try reading up on ancient Greek literature, which describes some of the earliest politicians who believed that the world was going to pot, a drumbeat of pending disaster which has gone on continuously ever since.
2. This is embarrassing for a Republican to admit, but it was at the eighth year of a Republican administration that we experienced the biggest financial crash of our lifetimes---a crash which could have been bigger than the 1929-1933 crash if the government had not been a little more adept at jumping in to counter the unfolding disaster. The Republican de-regulation of the banking industry allowed the banking world to make some really dumb moves that almost wrecked our world.
3. Whether we like Barak Obama, or not, these are some basic facts of his tenure:
--A. He inherited one of the biggest financial messes of any recent president.
--B. The standard economic indicators have shown that the economy has been on a relatively steady path of improvement during his administration ( not as fast as we would like, but nonetheless improvement.)
--C. Unemployment, which went through the roof at the end of the last Republican administration, has been steadily going down (again, not as fast as we might wish ).
--D. The stock market, one of the primary indicators of the soundness of the economy, has generally gone up during the Obama administration, and is currently setting new all-time record highs.
--E. If I am the one who spilled the milk, how justified am I in spending all of my time criticizing how fast someone else is doing at cleaning up my mess ?
Face up to it folks. We Republicans created the biggest mess of the past decade, and putting on blinders and playing Chicken Little isn't going to change that. Fortunately, Americans have a pretty good track record of pulling up their socks and slogging through the problems that come along, and will probably continue to do so, and we will all survive through into the next generation ( which will probably create new disasters, and will survive them also ).
To me the most worrisome thing about our current world is the degree of self-rrighteous certainty with which so many are proclaiming their philosphies. The increasing extremity and rigidity of our political polarization is hindering our ability to arrive at solutions to our problems. How about we all try to develope a little more balance in our outlooks on life ? (Maybe even a little bit of healthy self-doubt ?) Are we willing to stop using phantom disasters to justify our self-righteous indignation ? Can we recognize that we share a common set of goals with the rest of humanity ? Maybe, someday, could we even become bold enough to experiment with practicing the principles of Christianity ? ( Even though, I admit, this is something which has never been tried before. )