By Craig Ruvere / Columnist
(Nov. 18, 2010) — With the conclusion of the 2010 elections, we all can breathe a sigh of relief. No more will we return home to find our mailboxes jam-packed with propaganda no one reads and only adds to the waste in our environment. We will no longer have to sit through another mellow-dramatic political commercial whose only purpose seems to be defacing the other candidate. And finally, front lawns and roadways will cease to be littered with flimsy signs protruding from the ground like tombstones in a cemetery.
Yes, you won’t hear me complaining — that is until the next election when this familiar practice begins all over again.
We’ve been patient over the last few months — listening to the promises and rhetoric from both parties, being tossed around like a Frisbee on a sunny afternoon.
And while clever campaigning has swayed voter’s opinions in one direction or the other, reining your candidate victorious, you now ask yourself will change actually be possible? Will the government finally give American citizens the respect, the attention and the compassion they deserve rather than only concerning themselves with their self-serving agendas?
Those are difficult questions to answer and not even the most highly regarded political analysts can truly answer them with any certainty.
I recently read the following excerpt from a book written by Fred Rogers. “In 1963, President John F. Kennedy went to Dallas, Texas. He was going to speak there. If he had lived, these are some of the words that he had written to say: ‘We ask that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility — that we may exercise our strength with wisdom.’ ”
Rogers goes on to say, “It’s hard work to exercise our strength with wisdom, to be responsible stewards of what we’ve been given. You know how hard it is. You can’t satisfy all the desires of those who ask, but you can translate some of the care you have inside of yourself to action on the outside.”
I hope that all politicians, from our newly elected officials to those currently holding public office, take heed to the words of Kennedy — becoming truly worthy of their power and responsibility.
Since I began voting in 1993, I’ve stood witness as both Democrats and Republicans continue their battle for power and control in a race benefiting their party, not necessarily the everyday people they serve. Is that exercising strength and wisdom?
Sadly it seems the only thing politicians can agree on is defacing each other, refusing to compromise on anything and finding someone else to blame for America’s problems. It’s a philosophy which no doubt has been around for decades and continues to be propagated today. If politicians could put aside their party’s divides and stop searching for someone or something to blame, then maybe a viable solution might actually have a chance of coming to fruition. Then, and only then, would they be worthy of the power and the responsibility Kennedy spoke about above.
I read an interesting comment by former Teaneck Mayor Frank Hall after casting his vote. “I voted Republican, but I don’t like them either. It’s gotten to the point where politicians can’t have a discussion about anything.”
The American people have long been made one promise after another with little in return. Politicians it seems are not willing to discuss anything rationally and logically anymore — maybe they never were. The future of our country rests more on which side wins the game on the playground, than it does about actually making positive, beneficial changes for everyone.
It will be interesting to see how the new regime of politicians across this country fulfill the promises they’ve made to us. But remember, to be hopeful shows optimism. But believing any one politician or party can solve all of America’s problems quickly, after decades of neglect and abuse, is simply naïve.
The House Speaker In-Waiting, Rep. John Boehner said, “Our new majority will be the voice of the American people.” For our sake, I truly hope he and many others live up to their promises with strength and wisdom.
“The View from Here” runs every other week, alternating with guest columns.