Leaves aren#8217;t only things that are changing

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 26, 2007

If I did not have to pick up the leaves I would absolutely proclaim Fall my favorite season. It is a season of visible change that is beautiful to behold. And it reminds me that we are moving towards a season of change in American politics.

American moods are shifting. A poll this week by Ohio University and Scripps Howard News Agency found that Americans favor Democratic viewpoints over Republican solutions on 10 of 11 issues, with voters trusting Republicans more only on military preparedness. As I watched the leaves fall from my red maple I considered the reasons why ideas fail and how Republicans went from leading all branches of government to looking like the party has lost its Brand identity.

I called several of my Republican friends and asked them what they thought about the OU poll. Most quickly said that polls are never right, a comment we all make when their results do not favor our own perceptions. Beyond the denial issue there was a troubling response. Several of my friends suggested that the public doesn’t understand the issues, so their polling results can’t be used in setting party policy.

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I don’t know about you, but I find it dangerous when our governing class thinks our opinions are uninformed and to be discarded. But isn’t that what has happened in Washington lately (Democrats included)? Haven’t our elected officials, from our President through congress, more or less ignored the people who elected them?

Most people wanted a national Immigration policy, but that did not happen. Most Americans want a plan to end the war in Iraq, but that isn’t happening. Even the Democratic presidential candidates told us they could not promise our troops would all be home from Iraq by 2012.

I think most people worry about all the spending that is taking place in Washington. Some worry because we are borrowing all the money we do not have, causing the interest burden to fall on our children. Some worry because earmarks have gone from terrible to incredible under the Republicans and we still have no assurance the Democrats won’t do the same.

Americans did not like the way Katrina was handled. But that was just the tip of an Iceberg of government failures. Now we read that NASA, who has decades of experience in research, hides a report on the dangers in our air traffic. Why? The report on safety could have cost the airlines profit and hurt public confidence. Not too long ago the US courts had to force the EPA to enforce its own regulations. The EPA actually had the nerve to insist that it had no authority to enforce EPA rules.

Most of us hate the corruption in Washington, but our elected officials, Republican and Democrat, seem so deeply connected to special interests that the scandals continue to unfold. At the same time many of those who preached their own moral standards to the rest of us have been shown to have no personal standards. Whether David Vitter or Larry Craig, or many others, the public lectures on morality given by those without morals are offensive.

It is a time of failing ideas and falling leaves. We longer believe the U.S. should send its military so quickly without consideration. We no longer think we can pay for all the checks we have written against our national economy. And we no longer think the speeches advocating moral intolerance by the morally bankrupt are worth listening to today.

Americans are more than ready for a change in political seasons.

Jim Crawford is a contributing columnist for the Ironton Tribune.