Tuesday, November 04, 2008

My Fellow Americans: Reaching Across The Aisle

This post is part of the Politics and Movie blog-a-thon hosted by The Cooler, running Nov. 4-9. In the film My Fellow American James Garner and Jack Lemmon play former presidents who fought each other in two consecutive elections with a very bitter rivalry. Jack Lemmon plays the thrifty Republic former president and James Garner plays the promiscuous democratic former president.

In the film these two bitter rivals are forced to work together. Essentially enemies on two different sides of the political spectrum are forced to work together as they get roped into a conspiracy that they both end up needing to rely on each other.

If there's one lesson to pull away from this film is that the only time republicans and democrats seem to effectively work together it is when they are forced to. When there's a crisis. Something immediate. Something that is too big to be ignored.

As Democrats have picked up considerable power in Washington tonight (I type this watching Wolf Blitzer reporting on various precincts), there is a continued shift in power...just years after Republicans had much more significant control.

Yet there's one thing that is clear...regardless of who's in the white house, the senate, and the house, American's are a mixed group of conservative, liberal and middle of the road people. If America wants to thrive and succeed as a Nation it will require not just our politicians, but also our citizens to reach across the aisle.

I hope that as this long election season comes to a close, and the yard signs and buttons get removed that our interest in politics won't diminish. Instead I hope it will be easier for us to contribute to talking about how to solve problems without tying it as closely to party politics.

When it comes to education, health care, the economy, energy, moral issues, and international affairs I hope that people can unite to solve problems easier then perhaps it was in the midst of such a long and politicize campaign.

I also hope that since there's not going to be much of an aisle, that Washington DC will represent the center of America...not the middle of the Democratic party.

Previous StrangeCulture Post on this years Presidential election:


Fox said...

Hey RC-

You mention wondering if the interest in politics will diminish. That's something - as just a curious pop cultural observer - that I am anxious to see. How much of the passion leading up and on the day of this election will continue? How much of it was sincere political activism or pop cultural hurricane? It will be an interesting thing to watch.

And, oh yeah, can the media get back to talking about the bailout now that the election is over? PLEASE???

RC said...

@ Fox - maybe this election & the economic woes will help rengage us in discussions about politics...the war in afghanistan/iraq, issues in pakistan, north korea, russia, the republic of georgia...etc.

And I agree with your comment on the bailout...it will nice to be able to discuss these issues of the economy without such a strong election connection.

Jason Bellamy said...

RC: The elimination of the aisle. That's what I'm really hoping for from the Obama administration.

I hope he begins by naming some key GOP figures to some worthy positions. For example: give McCain, who isn't as red as he had to pretend to be, a key role. Put him in charge of veterans affairs, or some such thing. It's an important issue, and it would be a symbol of an honest intent to change.

For all the (deserved) criticism of some of the Bush insiders who in recent years have at times seemed ignorant or evil, or both, the thing that does the most damage to the American political system on a day to day basis is all the party posturing. There's no governing anymore. It's a constant campaign. No wonder nothing gets done.

There are some serious issues to be dealt with immediately. Obama can't possibly bring about the necessary changes fast enough. But if we could all buy into the idea that we're working toward the same general goal, we'd waste a lot less time. I want to believe again that such things are possible.

Thanks for the thoughtful post!