Within the confines of critical thinking passion predominates, and we often find ourselves rapidly moving away from critical cognition, and continued consideration for those that are diametrically opposed to a favored point of view. However, if you do this you are then violating the primary tenet of the aspiring critical thinker, the hallmark.
The hallmark of the critical thinker is the sincere ability to seek to internalize the perspectives of others, most especially when that perspective is diametrically, or even violently opposed to your own.
With that consideration where does this leave us in the next four years of the Obama Presidency? Some say a President truly has at best 18 months to be effective in a second term, at worst two years. President Obama will not run in another election. He has attained the highest office, and any good work he does beyond 2016 will be beyond the mainline corridors of power. He has a mandate. He won the election, but he still presides over a divided Congress, which is even more divided than our nation. With the ideological divide being so wide, can he make demands?
As a writer for the The American Complaint Department (www.tacdnews.com) we ask questions of this nature and pose them to liberals, conservatives, extremists and moderates alike. I am not a liberal but I am often painted as such, and my articles appear in the Liberal Complaint. However, what I am is an aspiring critical thinker and as such I must force myself to consider the facts, which I clarified during last week’s radio broadcast (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/the-american-complaint-department).
This President held out the hand of compromise on health care. This President held out the hand of compromise on stimulus. This President held out the hand of compromise on the Bush Tax Cuts. This President held out the hand of compromise again, and again, and again, most recently in a grand deal to cut almost 4 trillion dollars from the federal budget for a very real and meaningful start at closing the deficit and eliminating the debt. President Obama made this offer, and Speaker Boehner seemed ready to truly consider the offer. However, what happened with the rest of the GOP, the Tea Party? The end result is as we have seen before, no compromise. The GOP is the party of NO. For all his effort, if one were to view the President’s hand as a metaphor in compromise we would conceivably see a gnawed nub, a stump, no fingers, no hand.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. The GOP has no interest in real compromise. The President has tried time and time again. The GOP has spread the lie that they are willing to compromise and that it is the President who is recalcitrant, when nothing could be further from the truth. The facts simply do not bear this out. But far too many Americans simply aren’t interested in the facts. They are only interested in hearing how the President is a Kenyan stealth terrorist hell-bent on delivering us into a socio-communistic hell where we all live out our lives in FEMA internment camps. It boggles the mind the sheer level of mendacity.
With due consideration for the facts of the last four years, the President need not negotiate a thing. He is fully justified in running roughshod over the GOP and pursuing his agenda in full earnest with no consideration for a party who openly said their primary objective was to make President Obama a one term President. He does not need to worry about the next election. He does not need to worry about pushing the Executive Order and relegating the Tea Party to the role they have earned for themselves … minstrel show. He should dismiss negotiation and compromise and act unilaterally as the President we seek for these difficult times. Yes, that’s what he should and must do. Right?
Do we really want a President who dismisses compromise and acts unilaterally?
We may want to disregard that which we know in our hearts and critical thinking minds is right, and in the final analysis can and does work through rational consideration, appropriate approach and visibility. We may want to dismiss the hallmark of the critical thinker in an effort to get to the objective faster without disregard for some of our fellow Americans. It may be tempting, but in holding to the appropriate mind-set, the rationality to navigate the political waters with a clear thinking mind free of the need to give as good as we get, we can define clear solutions that work best for us all. Yes, it may be tempting dismiss compromise, but we know in our hearts and minds that doing so would be wrong.
The President cannot and must not act unilaterally. He may use Executive Order. He may choose to not negotiate with Congress on some issues. But he is a president, not a king, and as such he must adhere to the ethos of our nation and the law of the Constitution, in both word and spirit. Brinkmanship may be the call of the day on a given issue, but each and every issue must be given due consideration, thought and decision applicable through the crucible of the critical thinking mind.
Sometimes we may need to be intractable, we may need to be inflexible, sometimes we may not move from our position. However, the application of enlightened reason informs us when it is appropriate to operate in just such a manner, and when to know the opposition is opposing us in irrationality, and falling quickly into failure. We must know when is the right time, and what actions must be taken.
Will we stand on high and gloat when the President wins and the ideology shifts, even if it does not close the divide? Will we do this? The President has shown us the way. He has ever held the moral high ground and carried himself in an honorable and exemplary fashion. President Obama does not gloat, though he most certainly may be entitled. Mayhap we out in the commons may do this, as we are human, but we must recognize it as an error, and reach down to pick those up who we fell in the canyons of fiery ideological debate and the formation of heated policy, for in this we must not forget that we are all Americans, by and by.