Updated: Dec 7, 2020
I’m not very happy with America right now. For the last four years, we’ve had to endure a President that frankly wasn’t very presidential. He seemed obsessed with the idea that it was all about him and refused to let anything go. That might work for a New York real estate developer or reality television star, but it was unseemly for a President. But I certainly don’t blame him for all of the nonsense. No one on the Democratic side gave him any kind of a chance. Before he was even inaugurated, we were on him like ants on a lost picnic olive. The Russian collusion nonsense, the appointment of Justice Kavanaugh, Impeachment – none of it had anything to do with what was right or good for the country. And the election, I have never seen outrage piled so high – so much money, so many lies and so much hate. None of it was worthy of this nation.
It's no surprise to anyone who has been reading my column that I was not a big fan of Joe Biden. He seemed wrong on so many levels, but soon he will be our President and after listening to him present his foreign policy team last Tuesday, I was genuinely impressed. Oh, you can always find reasons to criticize, but he was presidential. His team was qualified and measured. What I am desperately hoping is that the Republicans will do what we were unwilling to do four years ago. I am hoping they will be magnanimous and supportive at least for a time. It’s an easy thing to do when you win. It is exceedingly difficult when you lose. We learned how as children on sports fields and courts all over American. You show respect even in defeat. We need to demonstrate now that we hold ourselves to the same standard as we hold our children. The Republicans have no reason to show us the courtesy we did not show them, but I really hope they will teach us a lesson and reboot for all our sake.
I decided when the election was over that it was time to do more than just pontificate from my swivel chair. I decided I would try to do more to contribute in a meaningful way. That’s why I changed the mission and name of my column. The City & Beyond will continue to be as idealistic, passionate and preachy as you’ve grown to expect, but I’m going to draw my focus closer to home – on things a little more tangible – on things maybe we can actually do something about. Like most of you, I feel very detached from Washington. Regardless of which political party you belong to, it’s obvious the coastal way of looking at the world is much different than ours. Maybe they have a better perspective than we do. Maybe their influences are superior to ours. Maybe they’re just smarter or maybe they have just lost their frigging minds. In any event, my goal is to focus more on things that impact on our lives right here.
I’ve also decided to put my name into consideration for appointment to the Omaha City Council for District 5, to put more on the line than just talk. Rich Pahls, who will be stepping down from that seat, was elected back to the State Senate, where we first met. He and I worked together to enact LB-505, the Nebraska Insurance Reform Bill several years ago. He’s a very good man, and a good legislator. Rick Kolowski, also a very good man and good legislator, was term-limited. It says a lot about a legislative district when they can elect a good Democrat and turn around and elect a good Republican to replace him. It says we care more about leadership and less about the politics. I hope the Evil God of Partisan Discord doesn’t put a hex on me. I’d really like to serve on the City Council. I want my children to see that government leadership does not have to be angry or partisan to be effective. I want to be an example of integrity, public service and putting the needs of others before my own.
Republicans have a certain way of looking at things, and Democrats look at the same things from a slightly different perspective. I know from talking to my friends and neighbors, that when you scrape away all the nasty rhetoric, there isn’t really that much that separates us – no matter what the news or social media tells us. I’m going to continue to magnify the things that bring us together; define more clearly the few things that divide us, tell both sides of the story; and suggest ways we can make it all work together. One of our Founding Fathers gave us the perfect prescription for what we’re facing today 231 years ago. In the waning hours of our Constitutional Convention, in arguably the most critical hour in our nation’s history, Benjamin Franklin urged his fellow delegates to be willing to sacrifice, not their principles, but their overwhelming urge to be right. Me thinks that is the predominance of our problem in America today.