Tonawanda News — If the paralysis of Washington is ever to cease we must first find a way to break through this social pattern and again engage with the outside world.
The Internet was initially thought to be a brilliant way to exchange information with people from all over the world and from all walks of life. What it has turned into instead is a perfect way to find like-minded people and become even more insular than we were before.
Think about it: Facebook has a “hide” function, allowing us to block postings from people to whom we feel some nominal social obligation, but whose politics or personal ticks irritate us — without their even knowing.
It begs a question: Are we hiding them or hiding from them?
We are not One Nation Under God. We’re 300 million people living inside the lines we’ve drawn to delineate ourselves from others, arguing about god and everything else under the sun.
There are certainly policy prescriptions that can help cure this ill. Resolving immigration and expanding gay rights will bring two groups out of the shadows and into the public square once and for all. His inclusion of Stonewall and the fight for marriage equality was a watershed moment and at the same time almost unsurprising.
It stands as testament to the fact that things can change — that we can change. A decade ago it would have been unthinkable for a president of either party to mention gay marriage rights in an inaugural address.
And yet, it almost seems anti-climatic.
What’s it worth being invited into the public dialogue if the conversation is so toxic, so disconnected and misinformed that it cannot produce a conclusive common purpose?
We’ve always been a diverse nation with a wide range of views and a raucous political system. But the vitriol the right feels for Obama — and the vitriol the left felt for his predecessor — makes any other debate impossible to have.