Letter: Shaking up American Politics – InForum


My interest in political decision-making has aroused over the past few years. I’m sure many other Forum readers also spent more time trying to educate themselves.

Our Christmas season is upon us again. This is when I tend to remember some of the gifts I received (or gave to others) in my youth that made the gifts memorable. This year my Etch-A-Sketch toy came to mind. I still have it.

This device entered the market around 1960. Two rotary knobs individually controlled a stylus which could be moved horizontally by one and vertically by the other. By carefully moving both buttons at the same time, you can move diagonally and draw curved lines. Behind the screen were beads of polystyrene (aluminum dust) which adhered to the inner surface of the screen. The movable tip of the stylus left a dark line on a light gray background. If you didn’t like your engraved design or wanted to create a new one, you simply rocked the device upside down to clear the screen.

The hardest part was to master the realization of diagonal or curved lines. This required finely turning the two knobs together in a cooperative and coordinated fashion. It was much, much easier to move the stylus left to right or up and down. So it is in our overpoliticized nation. The ideal of a reasonable compromise in laws passed or decrees made seems to be the endless pursuit of the holy grail of sound national decision-making.

I would consider our recent US legislative litigation and our extended executive branch political feuds to be represented by random, zigzagging lines crossing the face of Etch-A-Sketch’s “magic screen”, so it is. they named him. When something is agreed upon by both houses while awaiting a presidential signature, we would symbolically see diagonal, slightly curved and smooth stylus lines, as if both parties and the chambers are committed to working together and giving in to a compromise. reasonable. However, the formula for this doesn’t come in any rulebook!

I am unable to suggest a specific remedy for our current political discord. It will take time. How many? I do not know. To begin with, the political left and right must become less extreme in their liberal and conservative positions. It would surely be a magical moment on the screen of politics.

Randall Wehler is a resident of Moorhead

This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Forum editorial board or the property of the Forum.


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