The Norman Transcript

May 5, 2013

U.S. leaders need to meet in the middle

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

Congressmen: Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn:

There is no greater danger to our republic and to the survival of democracy around the world than political extremism, the vulgar disproportionate distribution of wealth and the rigid refusal of opponents to negotiate in civil discourse and to compromise when the outcome is for the greater good.

During the 20th century, we were fortunate in that, when we were faced with dire crisis, somehow great men stepped forward. Among those men were presidents Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman and in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate were Carl Albert, Sam Rayburn and Robert S. Kerr.

During these men’s terms, the country rose in unison with their confederates when this nation was threatened. When the country was faced with economic ruin during the 1920s and following World War II, social policies not only met the economic challenges, the nation experienced unprecedented growth and prosperity.

I was but a child during WW II, but I remember Franklin Roosevelt’s eloquent radio addresses. Even a six-year-old boy on the plains of west Texas could recognize that the man was someone special. Sadly, following the assassination of John Kennedy, we seem to have lost our moral compass and our ship of state began the aimless drift that has led us to where we are today.

In the past several weeks, all of you to whom this letter is directed has appeared on CNN expressing views on gun control, sequester, civil rights, Syria and the performances of the FBI and the CIA.

What bothers me is not a one of you can claim to be an authority on any of the subjects on which you have spoken. What I see on television simply comes off as “self-aggrandized grandstanding” and offers no suggestions as to how the issues should be addressed.

What overshadows everything is the realization that the public’s opinions do not seem to matter anymore. Our voices are overridden by pandering to the PACs and NRA economic impacts on your re-election viability (Even Mr. Busch, of brewery fame, has removed himself from the NRA board.).

What about my voice and the voice of the majority of the public? Personally, when I go to Walmart here in Norman and encounter some guy with a pistol strapped to his hip, I am very uncomfortable. In my mind, anyone who leaves their house and goes to Walmart carrying a side arm is probably not in a healthy emotional state.

What about the universal background checks at gun shows? Congress has left the door wide open for the purchase of weapons of war. These weapons are easily transferred to drug cartels in Mexico and can easily be moved to their counterparts on our side of the border.

Calling the staff of the FBI and CIA to testify before another congressional hearing is a waste of their time and a waste of Congress’ time. How many of you in Congress are authorities on surveillance, the gathering of intelligence and criminal investigation? When a law man is conducting a criminal investigation, certain things should not be revealed on a public stage.

Political extremism has cost the Republican Party the last two presidential elections, and things do not look good in the 2016 elections.

Gentlemen, there is not a Roosevelt, Truman, Carl Albert, Sam Rayburn, Robert Kerr or Henry Bellmon among your ranks. Sadly, there are no men or women of that caliber on the political horizon.

Joe Griffith