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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Year in review

Major issues have created heat to national debates

What a year.

The United States has been through a lot, from economic freefall to bailouts to the health care revolution to dozens of other issues too numerous to list.

Many of these debates have ended and changes have resulted. Some 30 million Americans are now eligible to have affordable health care. The economy has begun to rebound and bailouts have been doled out.

The actions are irreversible. But what has been revealed is of far greater importance. The divide between the conservatives and liberals has grown larger than ever.

The rhetoric of both sides is troubling. An era of sitting down with the opposition at the end of the day and putting aside differences is over.

Look at the health care debate. Going back months ago, many who were opposed to a change in how Americans receive health care compared the president to Hitler.

Actually, though, Obama has been more moderate than anything. And furthermore, going back to 1970s standards, the president would be considered a conservative. So, Tea Party members, if you're that upset about the budget, where were you for the past eight years?

It is fine to disagree. In fact, that was the very idea our forefathers had in mind when laying out this democracy.

Nobody handled the health care debate correctly. The Democrats fumbled through the beginning stages and nearly lost the battle. For some reason, the Democrats don't have that killer instinct to win. Republicans are taking themselves out of the debate and not offering up a counterview.

Guess what?

That isn't governing. In fact, it is acting like a petulant child. Both parties need to engage in the debate about the issues.

America faces a brave new world. Such issues, like the environment, financial regulation and energy independence, are all issues that need to be dealt with now. And the parties in power would rather fight over trivial things than make average American citizens lives' better and easier.

Not to mention making decisions on important international issues, like two wars and nuclear proliferation. Again, the clock is ticking.

Start governing.

The scariest part is that no one sees it coming. Midterm elections will occur in November and it is very likely that Republicans will close the gaps in both houses of Congress.

But news flash: it isn't because Americans favor Republican ideas. It is because Americans lack options. America wants dynamic leaders who are willing to reach across the aisle and work with people.

Because that is America at its core: it is the exchange of ideals and the inclusion of every citizen who has a voice. Not this divisive, toxic environment.

Nobody illustrated this point better than John F. Kennedy, who said, "Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix blame for the past. Let us accept responsibility for the future."

Who is ready?


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