Tom Stangl

Deadly shootings at a Pittsburgh synagogue and what were believed to be bombs mailed to critics of the president of the United States made headlines last week. While most are shocked and disgusted at what happened, there seems to be some rare agreement on what may lie at the root cause of both events.

Spoiler alert: it’s the negative tone and lack of civility in politics.

A poll conducted last week by National Public Radio, Public Broadcasting System and Maris found that four out of five persons surveyed are concerned that the negative tone will lead to violence and acts of terror. That’s 80 percent.

Spoiler alert 2: who holds the blame is divided, depending on the political beliefs of the person surveyed. Seventy-one percent of Democrats say Trump is the most to blame. Forty-four percent of Republicans say Democrats in Congress are the most to blame with another 42 percent saying the media are the most to blame. Among independents, 45 percent say Trump is the most to blame and another 30 percent say the media are the most to blame.

Overall, 40 percent believe the president is to blame, 29 percent believe the media is at fault, 17 percent blame Democrats in Congress and 7 percent put the blame on Republicans in Congress.

So, now that the election is over and the winners have cleaned up after their victory parties, it is time to get to work. 

I have always believed that this is the most difficult time for politicians. What course do they take from here? Do they stick to their campaign promises, get in line with their party so they can get something accomplished and improve their odds of getting re-elected or do they try to reconcile with the other side?

One of the campaign commercials I listened to this past cycle came from Sen. Amy Klobuchar. In the brief clip she explained that real courage is standing next to someone you disagree with politically and telling them you agree with what they are saying on an issue.

While this may not be popular in an election cycle, Klobuchar’s comment is the essence of governing. You can have the best idea in the world, but if you are unable to convince anyone else that it is a good idea, nothing can be accomplished.

The political climate we are living in now is less than ideal. The hyper partisanship with both sides taking the extreme polar opposite of the other makes it very difficult to find a place in the middle.

I think it may be time for people who want to make things better to have the courage to sit down and find common ground. Former Michigan Gov. and 1968 presidential candidate George Romney (Mitt’s dad) said that the way he found common ground with the auto workers union when he was head of American Motors was to start at the beginning. Romney and the union head agreed that they believed in God, then they agreed that they wanted the best for the company and then began tackling the issues.

It is only when we learn that we are more alike than the issues that separate us that real progress can be made. It may need to come down to this to move things forward.

I hope someone has the courage to make the first move.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading; I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.

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