Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Bipartisanship Can Be Real

A letter to the Editor in today's Providence Journal postulates that efforts towards bipartisanship are futile. David W Swindells, concludes with the following: "Bipartisanship is a chimera - a futile and juvenile hope."

His comments saddened me and sent me back in history to a time of true bipartisanship; although, I have seen it at work in the present day (Thank you Charlie Crist and others). An era of true bipartisanship was at work during the administrations of Franklin Roosevelt (FDR).

Being a forester by profession, I hasten back to the words of the "Father of Forestry" in the United States, Gifford Pinchot, in his signature work, "Breaking New Ground". Pinchot, the Republican, wholeheartedly endorsed FDR, the Democrat, and supported him throughout his administrations. Pinchot not only served under the Republican administration of Teddy Roosevelt, he also served as Republican Governor in Pennsylvania. Let me just repeat some of Pinchot's words:

"Concentrated wealth can only maintain its strangle hold over the general welfare if it can get the people to accept its exactions, and especially the methods by which it gets its power, as normal and natural........The monopolists must accustom people to their tyranny by a constant stream of praise for great corporations and of free enterprise according to their own interpretation, as well as discrediting of liberal movements and leaders - all of which is facilitated by their ever increasing control of press, the radio, and other news outlets."

"But in the hearts of the American people democracy has not been denied. The four freedoms of Franklin Roosevelt - Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear - have, I'm confident, been accepted by those whom Abraham Lincoln called the plain people, accepted as their right, and no more than their right. If that is true, we have come to a turning point."

"I believe in free enterprise - freedom for the common man to think and work and rise to the limit of his ability, with due regard to the rights of others. But in what Concentrated Wealth means by free enterprise - freedom to use and abuse the common man - I do not believe. I object to the law of the jungle. The earth, I repeat, belongs of right to all its people, and not to a minority , insignificant in numbers but tremendous in wealth and power. The public good must come first."

These are the words of a true Republican. I only wish that today's Republicans would study their past, understand that bipartisanship can be a positive force and that our very Country may depend on the willingness of leaders to reason and think beyond ideology.

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