Former Sen. Al Simpson once was quote as saying that “everything in Wyoming is political, except politics. And that’s personal.” He said that a long time ago, and probably stole it from someone else to start with, but we doubt he would have realized the timelessness of his words given the current state of politics, pandemics and economic suffering during one of the most divisive presidential elections in American history - and, in case you have forgotten your U.S. history, we have had some divisive ones.
Readers by now know that Simpson – that stalwart conservative Republican who was a statesman first and politician second – has a special place in our heart. He simply added to that this past week when he signed onto a letter with 69 other former senators calling on the Senate to form a bipartisan caucus and return to the civility that the upper chamber had been known for; a civility that transcended party and worked for the people.
The vehement, hateful, often antagonistic and mean-spirited era we find ourselves in are not working to solve America’s problems. They are not healing wounds; they are simply creating bigger and deeper chasms in the fabric of our society in a time when we need statesmen like Simpson more than ever. Instead, we have partisan walls created by some good-for-the-sound byte statement. Take the current hypocritical, in-your-face stance such as is happening on both sides of the spectrum today following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Politics has never been a “kumbaya” kind of thing, but the intensity in which it has become personal and devoid of rationality is almost unfathomable in its viciousness and rancor, with each side refusing to even consider the validity of the other’s argument.
Like those 70 former senators, we long for the days when politicians acted like statesmen and put country ahead of party and personal gain.