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The ‘rip’ seen ‘round the world

How can 79-year-old Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the “People’s House,” be as completely immature as my recently turned 1-year-old grandson, Ozzie, who regularly drops the food he dislikes off his highchair tray onto the floor?

The “rip” seen round the world occurred immediately after President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech in full view of a worldwide audience as she deliberately tore up Trump’s speech four times, then showed off the pieces to her family and remaining members of Congress.

That childish behavior was no doubt a rebuke of the opening moments of the speech, when Trump childishly refused to shake Pelosi’s hand. I can’t remember how old I was when I first heard the old saying, “two wrongs don’t make a right,” but it was well before Pelosi did.

So there we have it, in full view for all of us to see, the leader of the Republican Party, Donald Trump, and the leader of the Democrat Party, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, acting like 1-year olds — and this is the best we can do?

Regardless of your political affiliation, we as Americans should demand better. If there ever was a public display shouting at us to stop electing severe partisans, here it was in spades.

Nancy Pelosi, wrapped in her partisan zeal, rammed an inadequate impeachment indictment though while shutting out the due process of the Justice Department so Trump wouldn’t have time to make any more stupid phone calls. Then she sat on it for a month because she wanted to know what the Senate’s plans were, as if she had anything to do with the Senate. It was a major blunder on her part.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, partisan zealot Mitch McConnell, who is sitting on 200 bills passed by the House, refusing to bring them up for a vote, pushed his equally blinded Republican colleagues to not allow any witnesses at the impeachment trial.

Ronald Reagan worked with Tip O’Neill on tax cuts and preserving Social Security benefits. Bill Clinton and Speaker Newt Gingrich worked together to balance the budget, on welfare reform, and again on Social Security stability.

Not to paint a rosy picture from the past, as there were many political struggles, but it was clear we had at least a few adults in the room who were concerned about the nation first and party second.

All that changed when Bush defeated the “entitled” Vice President Al Gore in 2000 in a tight election, culminating with the “hanging chad” debacle in Florida. Following that was the upstart Barack Obama in 2016 defeating the war hero “maverick” John McCain, and then it went red-hot when anointed Hillary Clinton was edged out by political rookie and TV reality star Donald Trump.

One of the greatest fears of our founders was “factions,” which today we call political parties.

John Adams said, “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”

Thomas Jefferson said, “If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.”

Some tell me we get what we deserve. I say no, we get who we elected. Folks, the country is seriously divided, and childish displays by our two highest elected officials just continue this partisan warfare while we wake up each day, go to work, pay our taxes, and educate our children to become respectful adults, considerate of others, not to bully or lie, and hopefully to become leaders, themselves.

No grade school teacher I ever knew would tolerate the spectacle of our two child leaders on Tuesday night, so why should we?

As a proud independent, I have no issues with like-minded politicians forming a party. Even our founders knew it was inevitable, but we are now seeing their fears realized in a two-party system headstrong over power and self-preservation, harming, not helping, our nation.

When will we come to realize, and how much more can it take to see Washington is hell-bent on doing the parties’ work over that of the American people?

Maybe, just maybe, this childish behavior will open our eyes to finally see what has been clearly in front of us for decades.

I ask you, do you think the president and Congress care more about party than people? Share your thoughts with me at gregawtry@awtry.com.

Greg Awtry is the former publisher of the Scottsbluff (Neb.) Star-Herald and Nebraska’s York News-Times. He is now retired and living in Hubbard Lake. Greg can be contacted at gregawtry@awtry.com.