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We Need a Different National Conversation

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From flickr.com/photos/32545301@N02/6169026512/: Klyuchevskaya Volcano - Kamchatka, Russian Federation - Summer 1993 (Nikon F801s)
Klyuchevskaya Volcano - Kamchatka, Russian Federation - Summer 1993 (Nikon F801s)
(Image by Giorgio Galeotti)
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We Americans lurch, amazed, from one unprecedented political spectacle to another. We get all abuzz:

Golly, look at that Trump phenomenon! Never seen anything like it. Imagine a guy talking with such bluster, such as braggart, playing so fast-and-loose with the truth. And all that making him the front-runner for the presidential nomination of one of America's major political parties!

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Hey, can you beat this? The Speaker of the House has resigned, and his successor has backed out, and the guy a lot of them want for the job says no. A powerful position, third in line for the presidency, and these people don't want it? That's a first!

These are but the most recent of a whole string of unprecedented political developments in our times. None of them positive.

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The list of these developments reads like a political history of our times.

" A president (Geprge W. Bush) who shows a systematic contempt for the rule of law -- unlike anything ever seen before in an American presidency -- as demonstrated by the torture memo and the pardoning of the only member of the administration tried and convicted for crimes committed;

" A major American political party in Congress (the Republicans) making unprecedented use of blackmail, threatening to damage the nation -- by shutting down the government or defaulting on the nation's debt -- if it does not get its way on matters it lacks the legitimate power to achieve;

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" A party in opposition (again, the Republicans) making it their top priority to prevent the president from accomplishing anything -- even at a time of crisis -- resulting in a Congress less productive than any we've seen before;

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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)

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