Even This Is Not Enough To Engender Leadership

By

Leonard Zwelling

In her weekly column in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday, October 27, (“Defuse America’s Explosive Politics”), Peggy Noonan lays the blame on both sides. And she’s right.

While there can be little doubt that Mr. Trump’s vitriolic rhetoric tips the nuts over into rants, raves and bombs, those on the left are no better whether it is the overt confrontationalism of antifa or the lack of any leadership from the Congressional Democrats.

I don’t know about you, but I have had more than enough negative ads in the run up to Election Day. Stop it!

Ms. Noonan’s suggestion that each side admit that there is something about the arguments of the other side that merits consideration is a great idea. At least show that you get the position you don’t take. And explain why. It is just two-faced to have voted to repeal the ACA and then claim in your campaign ad that you’ll preserve insurance for those with pre-existing conditions. That’s just a lie!

As the latest assault on civilization in Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh unfolds as I write, I find it inconceivable that the current occupant of the Oval Office and his counterparts on the Hill from both parties don’t own this mess. It probably all dates back to Newt Gingrich and the vilification of the loyal opposition. That was probably when civility went out with the trash although an argument could be made that George H. W. Bush’s Willy Horton ads in 1988 were the first to overtly use racism to scare the hell of out people. Maybe that’s why Halloween is so close to Election Day. They are both scary dates on the calendar.

But what saddens me the most in the wake of yet another incident of domestic terrorism (who needs ISIS when you have this much hate in the American political system?) in Pittsburgh, is that after they pick up the bodies and count the dead and wounded in what must be an act of anti-Semitism, nothing will change. The gun laws will stay the same. Maybe some additional police will be at the doors of every house of worship in America, but the essential American problems–guns, violence and hate– the problems that have plagued the nation since its inception are not being addressed by those we have chosen to lead us. The leaders simply aren’t leading.

So what needs to happen?

The litany of gun laws that should be put into effect has been addressed by this blog many times in the past. Stop with the assault-style rifles; stop with the ammo over the internet; background checks no matter where a gun is sold; and better mental health screening of those purchasing weapons.

But if the Dems really want to take the lead and if they manage to take the House on November 6, introduce sane legislation to restrict access to these weapons of mass destruction and force the American people to take a stand on the issue and Congress to vote on it. My guess is that most of America would support an assault weapons ban.

It would be sane for President Trump to propose some sort of gun legislation himself. I am sure that Ivanka can suggest this to him. I know, I know. Dreaming, again.

The last time I saw the country this divided, it was over the Vietnam War fifty years ago. The civil rights movement a few years before also tore us apart. Of course, the whole issue of slavery led to a bloody war in the 1860’s. I hope we are not headed for another civil war between red and blue America, but it feels like it more every day. Only leadership will get us out of this and it’s tough for leaders to stem the bleeding when there is so much real bleeding going on.

Leonard Zwelling