It’s past time for us to drop the pacifiers and come together - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

It’s past time for us to drop the pacifiers and come together

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Posted: Tuesday, November 18, 2008 6:39 pm | Updated: 9:34 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

It’s the juvenile “y” that really frosts my shorts. One stupid letter that changes everything. From a United States to a fractured mirror of blue and red. From a civil debate to a shouting match. From an ours to a yours.

For eight years of George W. Bush in the Oval Office, seemingly intelligent friends from the left begin a sentence with the words, “Your president did ….” And before that for eight years of Bill Clinton, people who should know better from the right began their comments the same way. There is no better illustration of the dumbing down of our political processes than that simple start to a sentence proclaiming the latest sin, both real and imagined, of the sitting president.

Ours or yours. Us and them. The divide has become so gaping I’m not sure we can even see each other any more.

Just as the loopy left’s delusional rantings are quieted by its recent electoral success over the current lame-duck administration, the right offers its own brand of “cuck-coo for Cocoa Puffs” slogans while posturing for poll position.

Currently in the lead is Georgia Rep. Paul Broun, who issued a warning that President-elect Barack Obama will lead us into a Marxist dictatorship.

If Broun had added foreign-born and Muslim, he would have hit the far-right blogosphere trifecta of doom de jour.

Anyone who is familiar with my work knows that I did not vote for Obama. I agree with him on, well, not a lot. But here’s the thing: He won. We held an election, and the arguably most liberal candidate in the past 232 years got the most votes. He who gets the most votes wins. Them’s the rules, folks.

This does not make him your president or their president. This makes him our president. The president of the United States of America.

Do not in any way construe this to mean he is above reproach. When he slips up, and Lord knows he will (contrary to the belief of his followers and MSNBC), you can bet there will be plenty of us to point it out, as is our obligation in a free society. With verve and passion but also common sense and a little decorum.

More reason, less rancor. We can disagree without being disagreeable.

Yet few can argue that our politics (never a high art to begin with) has coarsened and devolved into simian dung flinging.

There has been created a disconnect. If we don’t get what we want in an election, we demean and distance ourselves from the winner to the point there is no ownership of the office by the citizens. Like a child who sputters a crude insult then closes his eyes because if he can’t see the elected official, the official doesn’t exist — and that is exactly what the current political class wants us to do.

A bunch of infants sticking their tongues out at each other rather than participating in the adult world. Relegated to the children’s table, while the politicians blithely carve up the spoils of a system corrupted, in no small part, by our own infernal bickering.

So let’s reclaim our place at the adult table. To declare that because we may have lost an election we are not out of the game. To deny those who would encourage and, hence, profit by our disenfranchisement the spoils they feel so entitled to. To say “no” to dumb and “yes” to smart. To become not the stain but the very fabric of the culture. To cleave to the system we inherited from our wiser forefathers and live up to their challenge of creating a perfect union with imperfect beings.

In short, to remove the “y” of yours to make it ours.

Scott Stantis is editorial page cartoonist for The News of Birmingham, Ala.

He also writes and illustrates the comic “Prickly City.”

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