Washington CapitalWashington Capital

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and The Boston City Paper, 10/2018

“Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. … Let us not assassinate this lad further, senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?” — Attorney Joseph Welch, speaking to Senator Joseph McCarthy, 1954

“Be decent, and don’t make it about yourself.” — Rachel Maddow, MSNBC 8/27/2018, speaking to the White House.

I try — I REALLY try — to stay away from politics in this space because although I find the subject fascinating and I follow the news closely, ANY written / spoken opinion always brings a fight.

Honestly, I’d like to write about ANYTHING else.

I am so fatigued, so very depressed about what is happening in Washington and across America. But — we have an election coming up, and I encourage you and everyone you know to get out and vote — and vote for YOUR choices — but this election is not a panacea for what’s wrong in Washington and America.  What is wrong runs a lot deeper and in both parties.

This “new normal” in America is not at all normal, and this country has been in adrenaline fueled, panicked reactive mode for years. It gets worse constantly; bad news, sad stories, information overload daily. No one can sustain this daily panic as a way of life.

Now, no one reading this is naive enough to believe that the American political system was ever perfect or close to it. It has never been Mayberry, or even Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Because in the “good old days” — (whatever time / era you choose to define it) — there were always politicians fighting and bad behavior and back-door deals. There has always been controversy and scandal. There have always been lies.

But these days, it just seems SO much worse, doesn’t it?

Common sense? Not seeing much of it.

Compassion? Yeah, not so much.

And I miss decency. God, I miss decency.

There doesn’t appear to be any sense of decency in Washington anymore. It’s an endless battle of Democrats and Republicans and Independents and talking heads whose sole purpose appears to be to battle, to further their own agenda no matter what the cost (or damage) to the country, and on both sides, being mean-spirited, selfish, and CRUEL — welcome to the new normal.

I hate it.

Love him or not, I see a president who has weaponized Twitter into the worst bullying platform I have ever seen. Whatever the matter at hand, I watch the Senate and House of Representatives proceedings and feel emotionally manipulated and wrecked afterward. Or I need to change the channel and get away from it. I see parliamentary rules ignored by both sides because they are inconvenient. I see officials in Washington go on TV and LIE. And LIE, and LIE. It’s been going on for years, it’s just getting SO much worse.

I see racism, intolerance, xenophobia, and policies of extreme cruelty. I see hatred of the poor. I see sneaking in legislation that hurts the poor and benefits the 1%. Not to mention trying to stop certain people from voting at any cost because of their skin color. Or unspeakably cruel immigration policies. And so much more.

There’s so much anger, so much hatred, so much mean spirited, manufactured nonsense. DAILY. HOURLY.

Worse? There are SO many bad stories, so many outrages, that we tend to forget them in a week or two because the next big crisis has hit.

There. Has. Got. To. Be. A. Better. Way.

Republican, Democrat, Independents: Where is the DECENCY in Washington? The RESPECT? The COMPASSION? THE COMMON SENSE?

When did FACTS and SCIENCE and TRUTH become alternative and fake?

I’m tired. I’m tired of this country always been in crisis mode. ALWAYS the adrenaline, panicked crisis mode. Always the BS.

The new normal is not something we should accept, ever. These are not normal times. The word “unprecedented” constantly makes the newspapers and TV news shows regularly.

There HAS to be a return to decency and common sense. This is not a Republican or Democratic issue. There is an AMERICAN issue.

“If you can do nothing else, be decent, and don’t make it about you.”

Imagine if our leaders followed that advice.

“What a wonderful world that would be.”


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