Stationary Rhetoric

With tons of new things to digest under the new Trump administration, I’ll take my first crack at trying to thread a non-partisan needle.

Whether it is an outspoken Democrat or a defensive Republican, or vice versa, there is a certain trend in our democratic discourse which is helping us get nowhere fast. Sometimes, the President even tweets with this style entirely. That style is that of refuting or supporting an idea, argument, or decision,  because the previous administration(s) of the opposite party did ThingX, so, why is it a big deal that we are now trying to do ThingY?

It is not just by lawmakers. It happens so often among acquaintances in person and online. I believe the best example of what I’m talking about is the recent Executive Order banning travel from 7 nations. Republicans often defended the Trump EO because of an Obama EO that restricted travel from Iran. Democrats often plummeted down the rabbit holes of trying to explain how the two orders are different.

I say, in regards to the travel ban and so many other micro-arguments, I don’t really care what W. Bush, Obama, or even Clinton did. Their actions are part of history, and at the time of their actions they were executed based upon the realities of those times. So, right now in 2017 under President Trump, I plan to react in favor or in opposition to his administration based upon our current realities.

The past actions of former presidents are not justifications for present actions.

Public outcry, or lack-thereof, during previous administrations is irrelevant to current public outcry.

I just tried to watch the CNN debate on Obamacare, starring Senators Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz. I was so frustrated over the shear amount of time that both participants spent on blaming the Obama administration for ThingQ while not forgetting that it is the Bush administration who is responsible for ThingZ. So little time was spent on the issues at hand. So much more time could have been spent on focusing on what the problems are, what needs to change, identifying common ground, and working towards making social change.

Perhaps I’m overly critical, or overly idealistic. But, it would be nice if lawmakers, and the public, began analyzing policy based upon the policy, rather than embracing an eye-for-and-eye approach to all matters. I’d like to see more folks pretending they have long-term memory loss so that they might be able to look at an idea and decide if it is a good idea based upon its content, and not by who proposed it or who did not. It’s time to start living in the present.

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