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One nation, not two parties

Published 8:16am Saturday, January 15, 2011

Several years ago I wrote a column about why, despite the overwhelming anti-Democratic sentiment, I was still a member of the progressive party.

It hasn’t been long ago that I wrote another column explaining why I would never allow myself to be labeled a Republican, even though I have some strong conservative tendencies.

I’m beginning to wonder how many of us really belong to either party anymore.

The fact is I don’t believe many of us can identify with either the Democratic or Republican “leadership” in this country. They’re both embarrassing to the point of making you want to hide your voter registration card for fear of someone knowing which lunatic group you belong to.

In the hours and days since six people were killed and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was left fighting for her life, it has become obvious how few of us can really identify with Republicans and Democrats.

It has been embarrassing to watch people in both parties do their best to gain a political advantage from the tragic events of last weekend.

This newspaper tries to provide a balanced readership on this page. We provide our more conservative readers with a column by Susan Stamper Brown and the more liberal readers one by Tina Dupuy. This week you won’t read either in these pages.

We find their columns disturbing because of the Arizona shootings and the seeming political advantage they are trying to gain from them. It’s not because we don’t believe they have the first amendment right to say the things they espoused this week, but that we don’t believe them appropriate for these pages.

We refuse to allow the pages of this newspaper to be used to make political hay from the death of a nine-year-old girl, a judge and others who deserve to still be alive and would be save the rage of a madman.

But it is situations like this – one in which national tragedy is politicized by the leaders of both parties and the talking heads that give us what can barely be termed as “news” – that shows just how bad political tensions have gotten.

I have friends who call themselves Republicans, others who are Democrats and even a single Libertarian in the group. We all agree on some stuff, disagree on others, but we all talk about what our opinions are.

We can discuss opinions – ones on which we agree and others on which we disagree – and have open and frank differences of opinion. Despite my more progressive leanings on some issues, I couldn’t be more against abortion. I have friends who vehemently disagree.

And, despite that being a hot-button issue, we can discuss our feelings without it getting personal. I don’t take their disagreeing with me as somehow being a personal attack.

I didn’t vote for President Barack Obama or his predecessor, former President George Bush; neither represents me politically. I have friends who voted for both and we have frank and open discussions about why we disagree.

I wish that we could get by to a place where civil discourse would be just that – civil. We are all one family, one nation, one people under God. Our differences may be vast, but it’s time we remember that we are more alike than different.

We are one nation not two parties.

Thadd White is Staff Writer and Sports Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be reached via email at thadd.white@r-cnews.com or by telephone at 332-7211.

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