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Opposition in government is a good thing

January 23, 2013

By DANIEL GARDNER

Maybe the next four years can be better than the last four years.

Americans voted to keep the status quo with divided governance in Washington, but maybe we’ll see different results. Maybe the grownups in D.C. can set aside their differences and work together to get America back on its feet and back to work.

An interesting fact: every second-term president since Dwight Eisenhower has had to deal with the opposing party controlling at least one chamber of Congress. Historically speaking, Washington faces nothing new or extreme in having to deal with opposing ideologies.

The question is how will leaders in Washington deal with differences while improving GDP and handling difficult issues like gun control, immigration, deficits, debt and tax reform?

The mainstream media will continue to paint governance problems in Washington as extreme and unprecedented. That says more about media bias than historical reality in Washington.

Unfortunately too many Americans who don’t follow what’s really going on in Washington will drink the mainstream media Kool-Aid and will believe any number of myths about why the players in Washington can’t get along.

We’ve become a blame-game society. Who’s to blame in the Lance Armstrong scandal? Armstrong says he doesn’t feel guilty because everybody else was doing it too! Did his mother never warn him about jumping off bridges? Someone put up a sign in an Australian library saying all books about Armstrong had been moved to fiction. The library did not do that, but one has to chuckle a bit about the latest celebrity scandal. But, I digress.

We have almost universal agreement that Washington is broken. Some polls indicate the nation is evenly split regarding who is to blame, although other polls are beginning to show a shift with Americans blaming both parties for problems. There’s plenty of blame to go around, certainly a lot more blame than solutions.

The mainstream media will continue to root for progressive winners and blame conservatives for lack of progress.

Personally, I’m glad anytime someone in Washington opposes what the mainstream media calls progress. Government progress seems like an oxymoron to me.

Our Founders wanted to spread out the power in government and actually gave more power to the states and “the people.” (See the 10th Amendment for details.) Washington has managed to turn that doctrine upside down to where 545 individuals rule over states and the people (Congress, president and SCOTUS).

Even our children’s civic books teach the supremacy of the federal government in contradiction of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, not to mention the Federalist Papers.

Progressives try to make arguments about what the Founders could not have foreseen. What about what the Founders had just gone through in regards to Britain’s ironclad rule over the colonies?

I suspect that war was still fresh on their minds when they drafted the Constitution. They certainly foresaw how power-hungry individuals would eventually corrupt the system they had set in place.

We can all rest a little bit easier when there’s opposition within the government in Washington.

Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville. Contact him at Daniel@DanLGardner.com.

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