Don Wolfensberger at The Hill:
My first day working on the Hill, Jan. 20, 1969, coincided with President Richard Nixon’s first inauguration. Having observed from afar our country tearing itself apart in the late 1960s, with urban riots and anti-war protests, one of the things Nixon said in his inaugural address that stuck with me ever since was this: “To lower our voices would be a simple thing….We cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at one another –— until we speak quietly enough so that our words can be heard as well as our voices.”
While today may not be as tumultuous as matters were a half-century ago, there is no question the country is deeply divided and people both inside and outside the nation’s capital are again shouting at each other. Congress is capable of setting an example in one of two ways — either by pulling together or by pulling our nation farther apart.
In addressing a group of Ivy League undergraduates in 1901 at his Sagamore home in New York, then Vice President Theodore Roosevelt offered a very simple piece of wisdom: “The most practical kind of politics is the politics of decency.” We have already seen how impractical the opposite is in getting anything worthwhile done. The House would be well advised at this early stage of the new Congress to reverse course and find a better way of doing things.