Lost in the media’s shameless car wreck rubbernecking of Kim Delaney’s meltdown at the Liberty Medal Award ceremony last week was the fact that the recipient of said medal, Robert Gates, the outgoing Secretary of Defense and former Director of the CIA under Bush The Father, and Deputy Director of the CIA under Ronald Reagan, had some very alarming things to say about perilous state of the Republic. He speaks in non-partisan terms, but read between the lines and he is clearly talking about the Tea Party and the ruthless goon squad they sent to Congress. Which is not to say that the Dems don’t play politics, but politics not what he is talking about — he is talking about putting partisan triumph above God and country, he is talking about an undeclared civil war that is ripping this country apart, he is talking about those dancing on the grave of the American Century. To wit:
I do believe that we are now in uncharted waters when it comes to the dysfunction in our political system—and it is no longer a joking matter. It appears that as a result of several long-building, polarizing trends in American politics and culture, we have lost the ability to execute even the basic functions of government, much less solve the most difficult and divisive problems facing the country. Thus, I am more concerned than I have ever been about the state of American governance. […]
I have worked for eight presidents, and I have known many politicians of both parties over nearly five decades, and I never met one who had a monopoly on revealed truth. At a time when our country faces deep economic and other challenges at home and a world that just keeps getting more complex and more dangerous, those who think that they alone have the right answers, those who demonize those who think differently, and those who refuse to listen and take other points of view into account—these leaders, in my view, are a danger to the American people and to the future of our republic.
A final thought. I believe that both Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan were great presidents—one the epitome of a liberal Democrat, the other the epitome of a conservative Republican. They both changed the country for the better, but both were pragmatic politicians willing to compromise in order to advance their respective agendas. Today’s political leaders and those who aspire to lead would do well to follow their example. Their willingness to do so will determine this country’s future prospects as a great power and as a republic, because the warning given a long time ago by Benjamin Franklin—that great Pennsylvanian—still applies: “Either we hang together or we will surely all hang separately.”
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