For over ten years I wondered whether public debate would ever be conducted on sane ground again, so that the rational among us wouldn’t waste so much time and energy in anxiety, reality checks, worrying over collective national guilt and desperately shouting truths from rooftops to try and penetrate veils of partisanship that rained down daily.
Lo and behold that day has come.
Yes, partisan lies still rain down, like those contained in the so-called Tea Party events of April 15--but they’re in the minority now, isolated and lacking in conviction. Mostly the debate has returned to sane ground. Not being a policy wonk, I find myself taking weeks off from sending out overtly political opinion. It was always the underlying truths that interested me most.
Yes, times are tough and dramatic, and we still hear from those frenetic twins, Hype and Spin, especially on Fox News and shows like Rush Limbaugh, but they’re no longer emceeing the debate.
Obama’s reassuring voice is leading our discussions back to terra firma.
So that we’re no longer missing the point by discussing, for instance, whether Cuba should be isolated, but just how quickly we should re-engage with that country.
We’re no longer debating whether to bomb and occupy another country but rather just who it is we should be talking with in order to prevent the next war.
Talk’s no longer about whether climate change is real, but how best to craft "cap & trade," what plants to turn into fuel, how to reconfigure the grid, and which Green initiatives to include in a national jobs program. These are issues rational people might debate.
Talk’s no long about whether to turn Social Security over to Wall Street, but rather, how many lifelines we should throw Wall Street's way to keep it from pulling us all under.
It’s not about whether financial regulation is good or bad, but how, where and how quickly to implement sane regulatory measures about sub-prime mortgages, and how to deconstruct too-big-to-fail entities such as AIG which, serving as its own traffic cop, ran amok.
It’s not about whether keeping so-called terrorists locked up at Guantanamo is good for America but how quickly we might dismantle the prison.
Not whether water-boarding and other such tortures are necessary, but how to make sure we don’t use them.
Not whether kidnapping and black box prisons and other violations of habeas corpus occurred, but whether to prosecute those who dragged our good name through the slime of such practices.
Not whether universal healthcare is "socialized medicine," but rather what mix of public and private resources can be cobbled together to cover the uninsured.