John Alan Turner

Speaker, Author, Mentor, Coach, Facilitator

A More Perfect Union?

These are politically volatile times. Yes, this summer was tense -- with the debt ceiling and the credit rating and the finger-pointing. But we endured a long, hot summer in 2009 – filled with tea parties and town hall meetings. The word Nazi was thrown around by both sides. “You’re a Nazi.” “No, you’re a Nazi.” “How can I be a Nazi when you’re the one who’s a Nazi?” Pushing. Shoving. Shouting. A woman called the President’s plans “Nazi policies” and was told that she had the intellectual capacity of a coffee table. Seriously.

Liars and Nazis and coffee tables. Oh my! It seems we may have moved beyond simply disagreeing with one another to actually despising one another.

Back in 2009, President Obama delivered a speech to some students. It was said that he subliminally indoctrinated them all into a vast socialist conspiracy. And we all know what happened the last time a President addressed all of the nation’s students. That’s right. He subliminally indoctrinated them all into a vast rightwing conspiracy that exploded in this past summer’s town hall meetings. Yes, the seeds for all these emotional outbursts of late were planted in impressionable minds by the clever and sophisticated blinks and stammers of one George H.W. Bush back in October 1991!

I realize you can’t see that my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek as I type these words, so, for those of you who may be confused, I’m being sarcastic!

The Democrats booed during George W. Bush’s last State of the Union address. The Republicans shouted, “You lie!” during President Obama’s speech on healthcare. The Democrats accused George H.W. Bush of playing dirty politics by addressing students in 1991. The Republicans returned the favor in 2009.

It seems the more things change, the more things stay the same.

And yet....

There have been fistfights and actual, literal, physical duels in Washington before. I didn’t see President Obama challenge Speaker of the House John Boehner to pistols at dawn. No one slapped anyone in the face with a glove...at least not yet. So far, all they've done is exchange words, folks. Historically speaking, this was pretty tame.

Perhaps we are becoming a more perfect union after all. Not all the way perfect, mind you. But perfecter.