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    Is Reasonable Conversation Now Impossible?

    Every day, we are inundated with media reporting on arguments and differences between our polarized parties. On one hand, there is the President and his fellow Republicans, and, on the other hand, the Democrats in the House and Senate. While my fatigue with all of it would like to dismiss the diatribes as so much noise, I cannot do that.

    This rhetoric reeks of partisan politics and is devoid of intelligent compromise. There is no reasoned debate. Disregarding on which side of the controversies your sentiments lie, no one can defend the lack of civility and failed governance over important issues faced by our nation.  Everyone is talking “at” each other, not “to” one another. The blame falls on our national leaders on both sides of the aisle. Their intransient divisiveness leads to no solutions. It only deepens the growing divide in our country.

    I nostalgically remember a time when our leaders handled diametrically opposed views on policy like adults. During former President Reagan’s Administration, he sparred with Tip O’Neal and Ted Kennedy – two Democrats who could not have been more politically opposite Reagan. During the Clinton Administration, he and Newt Gingrich were constantly at odds over policy.  Of course, there were real differences. But they respected one another and were willing to listen to sensible arguments. They understood nothing is black and white, particularly in politics. They eventually reached compromises and advanced the interests of our nation.

    It can be done.

    The only way forward to resolution is through our leaders acting with the responsibility we entrusted to them upon election. Instead, I am deeply saddened to say that today’s political denizens in Washington act like bullies on a grade school playground. Whatever our Founding Fathers intended with impeachment, emoluments, closed door Congressional hearings, or Executive privilege, I cannot believe they ever envisioned the kind of immaturity and lack of due process burdening us today. No reasonable person can defend the behavior of either the Democrats or the Republicans in the debacle we are witnessing.

    The saddest part of this spectacle is how it empowers countries like China, Russia, Syria, Iran, North Korea, and other despotic regimes that endeavor to weaken us rather than deal with us. Why wouldn’t they? These regimes have only to sit in the bleachers and watch American politicians ignore real issues that adversely affect our daily lives; all the while, our purported leaders throw infantile fits and toss one accusation after another at their opposition.

    I once thought this nightmarish turmoil would pass over time, and that we would return to normalcy. I have serious doubts that such a thing is now possible, and it is more than troubling.

    Whatever happens in the 2020 elections, I doubt the anger now embedded in our elected leaders will subside. Impeachment threats may well become the norm for the losing party as it seeks to second-guess the will of voters. Democrats and Republicans will hold more closed-door hearings that deny their opposition a participating role. Partisan leaks will fill the pages of newspapers and the reports on television. Interference with the President’s duty to oversee foreign relations will increase. Stalemates to progress will become the norm. Is this true leadership?

    Make no mistake about it; what is good for the goose will be good for the gander. What the Republicans rail at today as injustice by the Democrats will be the same cry on the other side when tables are turned. President Trump campaigned on cleaning up the swamp in Washington.  I liked that idea. Unfortunately, it increasingly appears that the only way that will ever happen is to send home those currently seated to govern our future – Republicans and Democrats alike.

    If you are skeptical, I challenge you to answer these questions: What are we doing to address our crumbling infrastructure? Our failed immigration policy? The homeless starving in our streets?  The costs of our healthcare? The education of our youth? Our taxes? A growing nuclear arms threat?

    We are doing nothing. Washington is unwilling to have a mature debate or consider reasonable compromises. I remain increasingly more disconcerted, more fearful for the future of our nation and our children.

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    Partisan Politicians are Ignoring the Needs of Americans

    As much as some in Washington would like the taxpayers to believe Obamacare is working, we all know it is not.  Obamacare may have been a laudable attempt to solve a real problem, but it dismally failed.

    Billions of dollars have been spent by taxpayers—with millions still uninsured. There has been a steady increase of health insurance costs—some of them extreme like the 116% increase in Arizona. There has been a decrease in choices for one’s doctor. Health insurance companies continue to drop out of Obamacare—for example, in New Jersey, Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, and Health Republic United left the marketplace, leaving two companies to dominate.   Drug costs are reaching new heights that Americans cannot afford.

    The Affordable Care Act is really not all that affordable. Sure, it’s helped some, but it’s hurt many more.  The issues are there for everyone to see—the taxpayers live and breathe it. We must gain control of the skyrocketing costs of insurance, medical equipment, and drugs. Healthcare must be brought back to choice and competition before it’s too late.

    Repeal and replace is not the answer. Obamacare doesn’t need to be thrown out in its entirety.  It simply needs to be fixed.  So why can’t the politicos in Washington find some compromise that will lead to a solution?   Because the politicos in Washington are caught up in partisan politics and ignoring the needs of Americans.

    Why not open up the exchanges so that people can choose from out-of-state?  Doing so will drive competition up and prices down; allow employers greater flexibility in employee coverage; get rid of the fee for not having health insurance; and expand HSAs and provide a tax credit based on age, which will assist middle class citizens who aren’t covered by their employer.  No one seems to argue that those changes would help—again, because the politicos in Washington are caught up in partisan politics and ignoring the needs of Americans.

    Neither side of the aisle is willing to compromise—Republicans want to completely repeal and replace, and Democrats want to keep it totally in place. If we work together to create a plan that will benefit all Americans, America will be in a much better place.

    This isn’t a Republican issue or a Democrat issue.  It’s an American issue that needs serious compromise. Sadly, it’s business as usual in the Washington swamp.