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UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Editorial

The word these days is “bipartisanship”. As the Bush White House’s lame-duck term waddles on the first sacrifice to this new development, brought about by the Democratic Congressional victories, was Donald Rumsfeld, who was perhaps the primary architect of the war in Iraq and has certainly been a long-time sticking point for the left. He was ousted as Secretary of Defense the instant the Democrats took control of Congress, tossed overboard as a concession to the new order so that his continued presence in the administration would not serve as a further liability in these days of citizen wariness and distrust of all things White House.

Hopefully, Bush from here on out will show he takes the idea of cooperation seriously. This would come with an attendant wish likewise for the Democrats, but it seems they understand, to some extent, what the Republicans don’t get: that Americans are bone tired of the left-versus-right dichotomy. They want someone in office who will solve problems, not blame others for them. And there are problems: we need to take a close look at our immigration laws; we need to assess the role of surveillance outfits in our society; health and education remain pressing issues; and finally, we need to approach an answer to the mess in the Middle East. We can do it, we can find amicable solutions to these problems, but we need to do it together. Barack Obama’s famous 2004 speech before the Democratic National Convention has been quoted ad infinitum everywhere else, but we will quote it here, because it is God’s honest truth:

“We worship an “awesome God” in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the Red States.

We coach Little League in the Blue States and, yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”

There are Democrats who will cling to the Second Amendment until you pry it from their cold, dead fingers, and Republicans who will fight to the death for your civil liberties. Since 9/11 though, the pattern from the right has been to label any who do not toe their party line “Liberals”, in the same way that “Communists” were branded in generations before. The left spit back charges of “fascism”. Past the political façade and the storytelling on each side, though, are people who genuinely believe that they have the proper view, that they are truly the ones who understand and wish to benefit the land and the people they love. Our unprecedented experiment in human freedom is still playing out today, and we deserve leadership that is worth us.

There will be talk in the coming months about this new bipartisanship (or the lack thereof) as fortunes play out. Though one may be wont to say that the government which governs best is that which governs least, that a government shackled by bitter partisan warfare plays to the hand of individual freedoms, it is undeniable that we face challenges broader and more pressing than any which have preceded our land. The nuclear threat remains, in Iraq and Korea and elsewhere. The American middle class is shrinking while inequity grows. Regional skirmishes are flaring to international conflicts at an alarming rate. These are issues that scream to be addressed, and a reversion to the tragicomedy of the last six years of partisan bellowing would be a poor showing indeed.