If congressional Republicans and Democrats can’t apologize and forgive one another, maybe they’ll be expelled in midterm elections.
IT’S time for our politicians to take a page from quarreling schoolboys and just make up. A few years ago two of my high school students got in a nasty fight. Their parents hired lawyers and the problem got bigger. The boys were suspended and if they couldn’t agree to end the fighting they would be expelled. Their lawyers warned the families not to talk to anyone from the school. Even though I was friends with the parents, and not officially involved, they wouldn’t take my calls.
I finally got through to the lawyers and told them, “You can run up your billable hours and drag this on forever if you want. But I will tell the parents that you caused the expulsions. The only way that this can move on is if the boys apologize to one another. Arguing about blame won’t do it.” The lawyers, of course, were noncommittal. I stressed my point. “If they don’t apologize and forgive one another the guaranteed outcome is expulsion.”
If the Republicans and Democrats can’t apologize and forgive one another, maybe they will all be expelled in the midterm elections. More likely, we’ll just endure an endless cycle of obstruction, acrimony and wasted time. It doesn’t matter who started it. People in the Middle East have been playing the blame game for millennia and all they have gained is bigger weapons. The psalmist wrote, 3,000 years ago, “Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” If we love our country, we could at least stop repeating the offenses. As former Vice President Joe Biden said, “The Republicans are our friends. We are not enemies.”
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My students apologized and forgave one another. Their friends felt no need to take sides, and the administration had no reason to expel anyone. The boys changed their ways. We moved on in shalom.
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced in 2008 that his party would spend the next four years making sure that President Barack Obama didn’t get re-elected. His party would oppose every move. Now some Democrats are understandably thirsting for revenge. It’s their turn to vilify the opposition and make sure the country suffers. This vendetta doesn’t help the American people any more than those lawyers helped my students. It’s like a nasty divorce. As Danny DeVito warns his clients in the movie “War of the Roses,” “There is no winning, only degrees of losing.”