From Harold Jackson's Under the Sun blog on inquirer.com
Listening to the eulogies this week for Nelson Mandela and reflecting on how he put aside some of his own beliefs as a rebel fighting against South Africa's apartheid government to become a promoter of reconciliation and cooperation, I keep being drawn to thoughts of the political division here in our country, and wonder if we will ever get past it.
President Obama, speaking at the memorial service for Mandela in South Africa today, said "It took a man like Madiba to free not just the prisoner, but the jailer as well -- to show that you must trust others so that they may trust you; to teach that reconciliation is not a matter of ignoring a cruel past, but a means of confronting it with inclusion and generosity and truth. He changed laws, but he also changed hearts."
Where is America's change agent? Who can get Democrats and Republicans to stop their partisan sniping and trust each other? Remember how close to immigration reform Congress seemed just months ago? Now it's dead, because Republicans, feeling the president's vulnerability after the disastrous initiation of Obamacare, have retreated from their past support.
America needs a Madiba, someone who can get partisans to cross the political divide for the sake of the nation. Perhaps naively, people once believed Obama could be the uniting force this country needs. That didn't happen. Nor will it, so long as the tea-party forces that seem to run the Republican Party get their way. One can't help but wonder if another 9-11-type tragedy has to occur before people will see their common interest and pull together. Let's hope not.