Barack Obama once famously declared that there is no blue America or red America. He insisted that the 300 million-plus inhabitants of this country are Americans first, not political partisans. I wonder whether he believes that today?
I see not just a red and blue America but a patchwork of colors, and I see the colors splintering and multiplying as in a kaleidoscope.
It seems to me that the two-party system is becoming an anachronism.
The GOP has been a house divided for some time, and, in the aftermath of those disastrous midterms, the Democratic Party is coming apart at the seams.
Every top Democrat is blaming somebody else for the party’s humiliating defeat, and some Democrats are showing signs of desperation.
Their willingness to vote for the XL pipeline is a case in point. They were ready to abandon their sense of right and wrong for political expediency. They figured voting for the pipeline would boost Senator Mary Landrieu’s chances in Louisiana, which depends on its oil refineries to sustain its economy.
That’s the kind of politics that America is sick of. It’s what kept a lot of Democrats at home in the midterms. They didn’t vote because they didn’t know what they would be voting for.
You know the party is in poor shape when Senator Bernie Sanders decides to run for the presidency (as he seems to be doing). He is an Independent but has caucused with the Democrats for decades.
A lot of Progressives would be tempted to vote for Bernie if he ran against Hillary in 2016.
Surely, Bernie and Hillary can find some “common ground”? Perhaps she could select him as her running mate.
But it’s hard to find common ground in America today. The interests of one group conflict with the interests of another. For one group to succeed, another group must pay the price.
It’s health care for seniors or school lunches for children, affordable meals or starvation wages, a living wage or more jobs, the environment and wildlife or jobs in the coal mines and oil fields … that kind of thing. It’s classic divide-and-rule politics and it’s as old as Philip of Macedonia.
I am tempted to blame the Republicans, but I know the infamous One Percent fund both major parties. It doesn’t seem to matter who gets voted into power, the rich still get richer and the poor still get shafted.
What’s the answer? I do not know.
But this I know for sure, major changes must occur in America’s political system for any hope of “common ground” to be possible.
Perhaps a new John Kennedy-type leader will emerge who can persuade Americans to “ask not what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for your country.”