Where a lot of people think we went wrong

“We’re blowing things up – and have been for a decade. And China’s been building things.” — Joe Scarborough, Morning Joe

(Photo credit: C Law)



The power of “AND” once again…

“The fundamental problem that we’ve got in America today – apart from the economics – is that conflict makes good politics. Sharp ideology and all this stuff that’s been very successful politically, but it’s lousy for economic policy making. If you look at the places that are really successful in America today – look at Silicon Valley, look at the computer simulation boom in Orlando and lots of other examples – those places without exception you have cooperation between a vibrant private sector and a smart government. And cooperation is great for the economy, but it doesn’t work as well politically. So we’ve got this big disconnect between politics and economics and until we close it, we’re going to have a hard time coming back.” — Bill Clinton, Meet the Press on Sunday. (Check out this great essay by Lea Marshall on “The Power of And” on our We the Wiki)



Quotable: Robert Louis Stevenson

“Let them agree to differ; for who knows but what agreeing to differ may not be a form of agreement rather than a form of difference.” —Robert Louis Stevenson, “On Crabbed Age and Youth”

(Thanks to Chris Timmons for the quote)



Eric Deggans is on to something

“Far as I’m concerned, our biggest shame right now, is people insisting on taking emotional, complex topics and reducing them to the length of a bumper sticker slogan, Twitter feed or six-graph blog post.” Eric Deggans, St. Petersburg Times

(Thanks to Florence for the heads up)



Colin Powell on civility on this anniversary of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech

“[Martin Luther King Jr] would be very disappointed [in today’s politics]. We have such a lack of civility in our political life now. We are fixed on ideological poles and we seem unable to come together. Dr. King was always saying “can’t we come together, can’t we talk about these issues?” Our founding fathers argued with each other but they also knew that argument is part of the democratic process. But ultimately you have to compromise with each other in order to reach a consensus and keep the country moving forward. If all we do is remain fixed on these polar opposites of our political spectrum, the country will not be moving forward. And we’ve got to find a way through this. And it’s going to happen when the American people say: “Knock it off, stop it. We want to see a different attitude with respect to our political life. We want to see a different level of civility in Washington, D.C.” — CBS News, Face the Nation, Sunday August 28

(Photo credit: Black History Album)



And it does go

Lack of civility in words bleeds into a lack of decency in behavior, and so it goes. –Kathleen Parker

(Photo credit: Michael Hashizume)



Making the world safe for propaganda

More from Farhad Manjoo in True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society:

“Investigating the rise of carelessness toward “reality” is, of course, the headlong purpose of this book. But I’ve been driving at a theory more pervasive than the peculiar psychology of one president, the transgressions of a single dominant political machine, or the aims of certain powerful players. The truth about truthiness, I’ve argued, is cognitive: when we strung up the planet in fiber-optic cable, when we dissolved the mainstream media into prickly niches, and when each of us began to create and transmit our own pictures and sounds, we eased the path through which propaganda infects our culture.”

(Photo credit: TJ Morton)



Frank Bruni: “We know it’s true because our ideology tells us it’s true”

“… right now, with the stock market floundering and our credit rating downgraded and millions of Americans stranded in unemployment and Washington frozen in confusion, the temptation to look for one summary prescriptive — for certainty, even miracles — is strong. We’d be wise to resist it. To get us out of this mess, we need a full range of extant remedies, a tireless search for new ones and the nimbleness and open-mindedness to evaluate progress dispassionately and adapt our strategy accordingly.” –Frank Bruni, The New York Times (read the entire article HERE).



Peter Wehner: The Public’s Complicity in its Own Outrage

“It’s a comforting game many of us like to play, to insist the American people are the font of all wisdom and our politicians are nothing but knaves and fools. Perhaps they are; but if they are, it’s worth at least a moment’s self-reflection on the part of the public, which after all elects (and often re-elects) our public officials. We may not like the political jars of clay that have been produced. But in America, it is worth recalling that “we the people” are, in the end, the potters.” – Peter Wehner

Read the whole profoundly (and sadly) true article from Commentary Magazine’s Peter Wehner HERE. Thanks to Bill Mattox for pointing us to it.



David McCollough: “We too will be judged by history”

Renowned historian David McCollough on Fareed Zakaria GPS Sunday:

In the old House of Representatives chamber in the Capitol, over the doorway there is a figure of Clio, the Goddess of History. And she’s riding in her chariot and on the side of the chariot is a clock, put there way back in the 1830’s. Still runs perfectly. She’s writing in her book of history and the idea was that the representatives would look up and see what time it is but they should be reminded that’s just present-day time. What really matters is what’s being written in the book of history. What looks down on Congress today? A television camera.



Bob Schieffer: “Ingenious compromises and courage”

Bob Schieffer’s weekly commentaries are usually the voice of reason – here, no exception:

Finally, today, well, it has taken a while, but we have finally done it. We have created a Congress incapable of doing what it was supposed to do… It is as if Detroit made a car with a fine radio and piercing headlights and comfortable, beautiful seats, but a car that couldn’t do what it was created to do and that is move forward. Here is how it happened. The cottage industry that has grown up around Congress, the consultants, the commercial makers, the pollsters, has made the cost of running for office prohibitive, so those who do Read all »



Good idea.

“So how as a nation can we sit around and eat Mexican food, and drink beer and make friends? That’s the question. If we can do that on a broader scale, I think we’ll come out of it all right.” –Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Read the whole article HERE.



Justice O’Connor on civility and civics education

“I believe that we are at a critical point in our nation’s history. We face difficult challenges at home and abroad. Meanwhile, divisive rhetoric and a culture of sound bites threaten to drown out rational dialogue and debate. We cannot afford to continue to neglect the preparation of future generations for active and informed citizenship.” –Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, The Sacramento Bee

(Thanks to Tanja for sending this our way.)