I’m not sure the phrase “share and share alike” makes much sense but it was an old saying and its meaning was simple; quit fighting and share the things you have with those who don’t.
Is sharing with those less fortunate no longer a quality we value? Or have those who have been generous enough to share in the past feel their contribution hasn’t been appreciated?
As I draft this column on Sunday night, the country’s leaders continue to play tug of war with the U.S. economy and are threatening to shut down the federal government. It’s difficult to comprehend why our so-called leaders can’t get along, as they have so much in common. Republicans and Democrats are intent on getting everything they want and both want to blame the other side for causing the government to shut down. With those two key factors as their highest priorities, it seems the issues are really not all that important and could easily be solved, yet they would have to use common sense and each give a little ground.
Like kids fighting over a toy, they’d rather destroy the toy than share it.
By the time you read this column, chances are cooler heads will have prevailed and our nation has avoided the dreaded shutdown, but they could have achieved this long ago and accomplished the task without all the theatrics and threats. Both sides are likely claiming victory in the process. The major issues — rising debt ceiling and the Affordable Health Care Act — are sadly only throwaways compared to who claims victory. Plus any increase in ceiling limit is still a short-term bandage; both sides will be back at the issues before the week ends.
What the politicians don’t fully comprehend is that both sides lose when they allow our nation to appear inept at addressing fiscal responsibilities.
After this current battle is decided, both sides will be making more adjustments to the Affordable Health Care Act, which both sides agree is far from perfect. Quietly, without the spotlight, portions of this landmark legislation will be put on hold because both sides recognize the same issues, but Democrats can’t allow the Republicans to claim a victory over this issue. The Republicans who normally want to focus on the debt ceiling would gladly raise the limit if they can put another strike on the landmark legislation somehow legitimizing their victory. It’s all just posturing.
Sadly we see this same behavior everyday in all walks of life, not just here in the states but around the world.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, coming off his historical conversation with President Obama, was greeted harshly when returning to his country. Instead of the Iranian people being relieved to see tensions and, perhaps someday, embargoes relaxed, Rouhani has a shoe thrown at his motorcade signifying the disapproval hardliners have regarding his openness to engage the U.S. in a dialogue.
The world is becoming too small to not recognize that we must find ways to resolve our differences, without the use of force or financial manipulation and that completely dominating a relationship only creates greater problems sooner or later. There are many differences among the people of the world just like there are people within this nation. But when we can’t easily address issues here at home where we have so much in common, how will we ever resolve the large issues that could have grave consequences around the planet?
In a country blessed with so much opportunity and hope, we should expect more from ourselves and our elected officials. We should reward our leaders who can unite us by resolving differences and seeking compromises with solutions that respect both points of view instead of demanding more obstruction and disdain for the opposition.
Share and share alike is every bit as good advice today as adults, as it was when we were just learning how to play with others.
Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press and publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.