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January 6, 2021: A Sad Day, But Possibly a New Beginning

Jeff Hall

Posted on January 7, 2021 16:45

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The halls of congress are sacred. Yesterday's attack was despicable. Like the alcoholic who must hit rock bottom before choosing a life of sobriety, we, as a country, should view the current situation as the beginning of a new journey. It's time to choose a new (and better) direction.

Back in my college days, I spent two summers interning on Capitol Hill -- one summer (1973) working for a congressman from California, the next summer (1974) working for a U.S. Senator, also from California.

The times were politically charged, to say the least. President Nixon was being investigated for Watergate-related crimes and impeachment proceedings had begun. The U.S. was still fighting a very unpopular war in Vietnam.

Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974, shortly before he would have been convicted by the Senate (which would have occurred, with plenty of Republican support).

I happened to be driving by the White House when Nixon was saying goodbye to his staff.  I was listening to his remarks on the radio.  In a very eerie scene, all traffic stopped, all at once. We all got out of our cars and walked up to the fence surrounding the White House. 

After the helicopter carrying the Nixon family took off, we all got back into our cars and drove on.

It was a huge relief, and yet all very sad. Americans were certain we'd never see our country sink to such a low place again.

But here we are.

It was really hard to watch Trump-inspired rioters storming the hallowed halls of the Capitol.  I used to walk there daily -- in awe. Washington's monuments are shrines to American democracy, inspiring in any era.

It is sometimes said things have to get really bad before they can get better. It's like the alcoholic who must hit rock bottom before joining AA and beginning the journey back from hell -- and toward sanity. 

As a country, I think we just hit rock bottom.

This is an opportunity in disguise, if we, as a country, choose to see it that way.  It's time we checked ourselves into the equivalent of "Political AA."

It's time we finally addressed the stench of racism, tackle income inequality, remove the scourge of cheap drugs, end the endless wars, rebuild our manufacturing sector -- and deal in truth and reality.

People need jobs, purpose, and hope for a better future. We can only accomplish this with a reduction in hyper-partisanship. It's time to listen to each other with mutual respect.

I thought Gerald Ford did a remarkable job of returning the country to normalcy, post-Nixon.  He told us our long, national nightmare was over -- and soon enough, it was.

Many never forgave Ford for pardoning Nixon, and he lost the next election to Jimmy Carter. Ford did what he thought was right for the country -- at his own expense.

Biden is, in many ways, like Jerry Ford -- steeped in the ways of Washington, not very flamboyant, not so articulate, not too much of an ideologue, eager to do what's right for the country.

Whatever party we belong to, whichever candidate we voted for, it's time for us to focus on problem-solving, not finger-pointing.  It's time we do what's right for America.

Let's start by all wishing President Biden well.

 

 

Jeff Hall

Posted on January 7, 2021 16:45

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Source: The Hill
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