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November 1, 2012
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HOFFMAN: With a deeply divided nation, no one wins

Here we are, days out from the finale of a much too long and too contentious election season.

I have grown so weary of the constant attacks on our president of the pettiest nature. Regardless of what he does, says or goes there will be someone immediately ready to attack. These attacks are shameless and debase the man, the office and our nation. These attacks shame the person sharing them. These attacks go far beyond the petty in some cases to the outright absurd and outrageous.

The one that most comes to mind in this category is the one which claims the president in conjunction with the Arab League orchestrated the violence that resulted in the death of four Americans. Really? You have the audacity to repeat and share that?

Oh, and there are attacks on Romney also. Locally, of course, given the conservative nature of our town we mostly see attacks on the president, but there are attacks from the other side too. While I have not yet seen one implying Romney has had any complicity in attacks on Americans, I have seen one that claims Bain Capital owns controlling interest in a voting machine company that may result in a stolen election. Other posts have suggested sinister hidden agendas and dark secrets.

Regardless of who wins we are on a continuing course of attacks on the winner and each other as we have become a more deeply divided nation with little regard for truth or civility. Relentless attacks are becoming the norm and Facebook, once a place to chat and share pleasant personal and business tidbits, has become ground zero for dissemination of mindless rhetoric which does nothing to advance solutions for the healing of our economy or our nation.

In fact, these posts seem to lack any cognizance of our national crisis. They, and most "political" comment, are devoid of discussion on the budget, continued loss of personal liberties, political corruption and social agendas. There is no time for such trivia, we are more interested in the size of someone's flag lapel pin, the cost of dresses worn by whomever, and innuendo. Maybe our small little minds are not capable of grasping the truly important and we can at least understand politics reduced to tabloid-level gossip and speculation.

In the presidential race I fear whoever wins will be a weak president. Obama will be weak because, assuming Republicans control the house and are the minority in the Senate, they will continue to block meaningful legislation. This was the tactic used during his first term to prevent programs being enacted if it would appear to benefit his tenure in office. This was true even if the legislation was of direct benefit to our nation. Due to this lack of bipartisanship, this lack of caring for America, we now find ourselves facing sequestration. If the Democrats and Republicans do not act decisively and rapidly we shall fall from that economic precipice.

Should Romney win, he shall also do so without any mandate of significance. He will immediately fail to do all he insisted would be accomplished on "day one" and immediately disappoint all his hard-right supporters who shall discover he is not "severely conservative." The Democrats may decide to give the Republicans as good as the Democrats got and continue a too-long legacy of legislative stalemate. It is feared that partisanship shall continue to be more important than governing regardless of the outcome. The emphasis on failure to "reach across the aisle" will reach new heights while candidates continue to run (with our insistence) on a platform of no compromise or negotiation with the enemy party. We have become our own worst enemy.

Regardless of the outcome of the presidential election, we will probably get what we wanted and it is not pretty. It will be no prettier than the outrageous conspiracy claims that some have created. It will be no prettier than the petty hatred many have engendered. We face a minimum of another four years of hostility and inaction which we have brought upon ourselves. Again, I wish for God to bless America for we have sorely abused it.

Jim Hoffman is a local real estate broker and investor who is trying to move from semi-retired to retired. He needs to retire to devote more time to unpaid interests such as skiing, camping and fishing.


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The Post Independent Updated Nov 1, 2012 03:27PM Published Nov 1, 2012 03:14PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.