The Perfect, the Good and the Shame

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), December 31, 2012 | Go to article overview

The Perfect, the Good and the Shame


What happened to that millisecond after the election when both the president and the speaker said they'd heard the message that Americans wanted the two parties to work together, wanted to make divided government work, and that they would do everything they could to make that happen?

Gone? Shall we spend a lot of time pointing fingers and figuring out who is to blame? On the other hand, let's skip it for now.

What happened to that millisecond after the Newtown shooting when it looked like we might actually turn the heat down on the paralyzing gun debate in this country, that keeps us shouting past each other? I know where I'd point the finger of blame on that one (hello, Wayne LaPierre), but there were also people playing along with his absolutist game, on both sides.

Plenty of blame there, too.

Shall we look back on 2012 as the year we managed to survive a presidential campaign most people hated before climbing back into our separate cars for a trip over the fiscal and political cliff?

Whatever happens regarding the fiscal cliff, we'll survive the impact -- eventually. Not without some pain and probably most for those who are already in the toughest shape -- isn't that always the way. But the political cliff -- that I'm not so sure of.

The perfect, Voltaire said, is the enemy of the good. Truer words were never spoken.

I don't know any law Congress could have passed to stop a crazy, evil guy from setting a trap for firefighters on Christmas Eve. Evil.

And I'm willing to concede that tougher background checks would not have kept a gun out of Adam Lanza's hands.

So no, I don't have perfect solutions. …

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