Quin Hillyer’s Washington Examiner column, as a New Year’s resolution;

Numerous topics suggest themselves this week for a policy-heavy “look ahead” column for 2018 – but, alas, not just 2017 but the whole of 2016 and half of 2015 were so politically exhausting that all I want is a break, a big break, from everything political and governmental.

I suspect I’m nowhere near alone in this.

I think millions of Americans just want the political noise to stop. We want the ideologues to stop insulting everyone else; we want the idiotic sloganeering to cease; we want the partisanship to be reduced and the demagoguery to disappear; and we want the resident of the Oval Office to curtail his tweets and end his weekly barrage of falsehoods.

And we especially want both sides to stop automatically impugning the motives or the human decency of people who happen to reach different conclusions or hold different political philosophies. It is calumny for the Chuck Schumers of the world to portray most conservatives as being indifferent (or, worse, hostile) to the poor; it is likewise calumnious for right-wingers to mistake liberal media bias for grand-scale, deliberate dishonesty.

None of this is to call for some sort of namby-pamby, fuzzy-headed, permanent political kumbaya. Sharp policy differences can merit sharp debate, with sharp criticism of the assumptions or logic used by the other side. Still, sharpness need not be insulting – and, done well, can indicate a base-level respect despite the disagreements.

Yet, as 2017 draws to an end, I recoil even from those sorts of policy disputes that are respectful but contentious. For at least a week or two, I actually would welcome a bit of kumbaya. It’s not that I would abjure a serious policy proposal right now – Lord knows, tax reform was only the easiest part of the crucial series of changes needed to set government aright – but I would really rather have everybody take deep breaths, play some golf or read a book, and say absolutely nothing political unless it is broadly upbeat, unifying, or uplifting.

For example, at the end of his first year in office, Ronald Reagan spoke of the lights of Christmas trees and of Menorah candles, and….

[For the rest of what Reagan said, and the rest of this column, follow this link.]

 

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