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Education Matters: Where is the loyal opposition?

August 18, 2011|By Dan Kimber

Editor's Note: Numerous instances of plagiarism have been discovered in Dan Kimber’s “Education Matters” column, which ran in the News- Press from September 2003 to September 2011. In those columns where plagiarism has been found, a For the Record specifying the details will be appended to the piece.

Like most of you, I have followed with interest the legislative “resolution” to our national budget crisis — although “Interest” may not be the word that many of us would use to describe the sorry spectacle that has played out in our nation’s capital.

Leaving politics aside, if that is possible, I am left with my own crisis of confidence in our two-party system, wondering how it is that grown men and women chosen to lead are so readily herded together and so completely subservient to something our country euphemistically refers to as “party loyalty.”

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Some might liken our legislative leaders from both sides of the aisle (in state capitals, as well as our national capital) to quarreling spouses in familiar deadlock, each trotting out tired arguments and resorting to old habits of thinking, and getting nowhere in the process.

In the present economic calamity, which cries out for creative solutions and compromise, we the people are hearing a steady stream of old tapes being played by party loyalists — more loyal by far to political platforms than actual constituencies. It has become an atmosphere where new ideas and novel approaches go begging and the air is filled with hollow-sounding phrases spoken by posturing politicians.

If that sounds a little harsh, perhaps our senators and representatives are more aptly compared to little children, reverting to basic behaviors and using a limited vocabulary that once defined their younger years. We’ve all witnessed outbursts and tantrums on the floors of each house of Congress, resembling more a schoolyard than the legislative chambers of the greatest nation on earth.

What we hear coming from the House and Senate on the nightly news broadcasts are scathing attacks from each party, with rarely a hint of conciliation. Take the offensive, seize on the misstatement, don’t miss an opportunity to denigrate the opposition — all of it justified and sanctified in the name of, once again, party loyalty.

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