Thursday, May 13, 2010

“No One Forgives Anyone for Anything Anymore”

I’ve been reading a great book recommended by my Daughter Emily entitled The Forgiving Self – The Road from Resentment to Connection by Dr. Robert Karen.

It has brought to mind repeatedly two Newsweek columns last month and made them seem even more insightful.

One in the April 26th issue by Jacob Weisberg is entitled “Endangered Species – Responsible Republicans Are Nearly Extinct.” And as someone who was Republican in my youth but since my early 20’s, one of those pesky Independents, albeit progressive, I couldn’t agree more.QA-simpson-FE05-vl-vertical

It came on the heels of a very brief interview in the same magazine two weeks prior by Weston Kosova with Alan Simpson of Wyoming, who served in the United States Senate as a Republican from 1979 to 1997 and is now co-chairing a bipartisan commission for President Obama.

Senator Simpson speaks with a refreshing no-non-sense clarity reminiscent of folks in my home state of Idaho. He nails one of the problems infecting the entire country with the quote I used for the title of this blog.

Mr. Simpson’s words made me very nostalgic for a time when we had more reason and patience and forgiveness among our Nation’s most prominent “role models.” But he also was dead on when he pointed out that what we see in Congress is reflective of what we see everywhere now, not just on Fox News.

His comments also gave me reason to be even more concerned about what columnist David Brooks wrote in the New York Times. Though a decade younger, Mr. Brooks started out liberal and became conservative at about the same age I changed going in the opposite direction.

He wrote, “Many people live in information cocoons in which they talk only to members of their own party and read blogs of their own sect…They come away with perceptions fundamentally at odds with reality.”

It isn’t just his opinion. Remember the ‘09 Pew research I quoted in a blog many months ago that showed Democrats and Independents using a broad range of sources for information but Republicans overwhelmingly in only an outlet or two.

Hal Crowther writing in the Independent last week summed it up “…it’s critical information they’ll never receive. Thanks to the fragmentation and polarization of of the media, Americans can now avoid any facts or opinions that might surprise or displease them.”

Republican Bob Bennett lamented in an interview on NPR last night that most of the robotic Tea Party types (4% of the general public) who swamped the Utah caucuses and pushed him off the Republican ticket, wouldn’t even meet with him to discuss the issues…

Ugh – maybe it isn’t just “responsible” that is becoming extinct.

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