When competing ideologies are apparently irreconcilable and political expression is increasingly toxic (as in the current environment), there is only one sane response: informed, rational, cool-headed PRAGMATISM.
IF ONLY an American leader would emerge and make the case for proven solutions!
Using Prof. Krugman‘s example of the abortion debate: The “pro-life” and “pro-choice” factions will NEVER agree on the question of abortion’s legality/morality. Yet there is widespread agreement on the desirability of reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions in America.
I have spent the past two decades wishing that some Solomon-like politician would simply present the case for dramatically reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country using proven methods: sex education and universal health care.
Implementation of such solutions would reduce the frequency of abortion to a mere fraction of the current frighteningly high rate (some 1 in 4 American women have an abortion at some point in their lives; a disgrace in our wealthy nation).
Similarly, I would love to see President Obama (or some centrist Republican) make the clear case — based on innumerable historical and global examples — that neglecting the least fortunate in our society will ultimately destroy our economy.
Just as America has been well served by the enforcement of minimal labor and environmental standards, it is also in our best interest to treat and prevent societal ills before they metastasize… lest we devolve into the Third World kleptocratic and anarchic state we increasingly resemble (after decades of massive privatization and deregulation).
Leave ideology out of it! No single ideology will ever “prevail” — and everyone is entitled to his/her opinion. We need to revive America’s capacity for logic and reason (the forces of unbridled greed have nearly reduced us to two tribes of unthinking animals — divided and nearly conquered — but it’s not too late!).
The Bush-Obama years have alerted Americans that our way of life and prosperity are threatened. Americans are ready to listen to a true voice of hope… hope we can truly believe in (not some mere slogan).
It’s time to have an adult discussion about WHAT WORKS, instead of continuing to pursue utterly failed policies like border walls, torture, spying on our citizens, drone assassinations, and illegal wars — not to mention the willy-nilly criminalization of everything from abortion to soft drugs to muckraking journalism to radical expression (Islamic or otherwise).
Such policies have demolished America’s moral credibility in the world while nearly bankrupting us and more than doubling our prison population — making us #1 in the world for incarcerating our own citizens… meanwhile we neglect to educate our citizens and provide each and every American with basic health care and services; a sure path to the bottom.