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Editorial: Losing sight of the goal

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Indiana Lawyer Editorial

Feb. 25 was certainly an ugly day.

All talk about the weather aside, we had what we thought was a modest bit of hope that President Barack Obama's health-care summit might inspire the people we've sent to the United States Senate and House of Representatives to do the jobs we sent them to Washington, D.C., to do on our behalf.

But of course that didn't happen.

Politicians of every stripe seemed incapable of resisting the cameras and posturing for the benefit of their re-election campaigns. The president lectured like a stern professor astonished at the thickheadedness of his students.

Such a display made Sen. Evan Bayh's decision to not seek another term seem like the most sane decision anyone in his shoes could make.

We say this not to bring Sen. Richard Lugar's sensibilities into question. We greatly admire his work on behalf of Indiana and believe he is one of the few examples of someone capable of working in a bipartisan manner in the entire Congress.

Perhaps he could give the senators in the state immediately to our South a lesson in working well with others. One of that state's senators, a gentleman who is not seeking re-election, was at Indiana Lawyer press time single-handedly holding up the extension of unemployment benefits for about 400,000 people set to expire Feb. 28. We understand that this senator's point is that the federal government does not have a way to pay for this benefit, but we're certain that most of the people who are receiving the benefits don't have another means keeping food on the table or the roof over their heads. The fact that this gentleman is the lone holdout on the measure, and is being lectured about his stubbornness by members of his own party, is telling.

We know how strongly you feel about the current lack of civil discourse and inability of people of differing political factions to work together. Such a lack of civility isn't merely exemplified in our government; you can find it everywhere in everyday life in some of the most needless circumstances. Many of you have shared with us your exasperation over this development. Some of you are concerned with the current examples of extreme partisanship and the lessons our children are learning from it. Because it's our children who are going to suffer the most from this stagnate mess we're in politically.

Perhaps you have a friend like ours; a friend so far on the other side of the political spectrum from us that we sometimes marvel at the fact that we are such dear friends. This friend says this of our political differences: we both want the same thing, we just differ in how we think the country should go about getting to the desired end. It's not about winning, the friend says; it's about achieving the goal.

That's the troubling thing about the current state politics: it's only about winning.

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