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Community Voices (Pyatt): Upcoming election gives everyone a chance to reset priorities | COMMENTARY

Like all great tragedies, we are living in one that could have been prevented — and should have — but the failing is due primarily to the human weakness of hubris. The train wreck is already in motion, and all we can do is to wait and watch.

For most of my life I was a registered Republican. This includes over 20 years when I was an elected official and a federal employee. This meant I was bound by the Hatch Act. Most federal agencies went overboard and put restrictions — often rather silly ones — on what you could do politically. So I began thinking and acting as an Independent which I ended up believing is the way to be, except that you more or less throw your vote away in Carroll County.

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The election of Trump in 2016 changed all of that. There were problems with too much immigration, and some constraints were needed. But taking a machete to the problem made it worse. Firing up hate groups worked for a while and also got attention off of Mr. Trump’s over-fondness with foreign dictators. The political fates worked against us.

Be that as it may, the entire Republican Party bought into this paradigm, and there is a high likelihood that the party — or at least a big chunk of it — could go down the drain along with Mr. Trump. It might be tempting to say “Good riddance!” But that’s not a good answer either. Some reasonable and sensible alternative needs to be reconstructed, and probably will be.

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Trump introduced some good ideas on economic growth, rolling back a bit on government regulation — a bit heavy-handedly in environmental and safety regulations — but did provide some interesting examples on a better governmental and private sector model. But his “lone wolf” naivety in shaping foreign policy has been a calamitous disaster. Unfortunately, the Democratic Party has become a bit stodgy and — look who’s talking — having old ideas and leadership.

The fates of politics are really strange at times. Miraculously, a Republican governor, Larry Hogan, came out of the blue about 6 years ago and was both elected and reelected. Figure the odds on that one. But he was here to lead us through the ravages of COVID-19 and minimize the damage on what could have been a much worse situation. It could have been much more deadly if he listened to Trump’s advice. He did a lot of “hands-on” things and improved when things didn’t go right, such as a disastrous testing program. This wasn’t really Hogan’s fault, per se, and he recovered reasonably.

If the Democrats prevail as the polls indicate, we’re going to go from chaotic “warp speed” to a more measured pace. There was a column in The Baltimore Sun on June 29 making a comparison between the Eisenhower administration in the 1950s to an upcoming potential Biden administration. Ironically, the Democratic Party then had all of the hot ideas, and Eisenhower’s eight years in office were considered somewhat dull. Some pundit commented to Eisenhower’s two-time opponent Adlai Stevenson that all thinking voters should vote for him. His response was, “True, but unfortunately I need a majority.”

Eisenhower’s approval rating when he left office was 58%, but it was a somewhat uninspiring vote of approval. Only many years later did historians recognize all of the tough decisions that were made, and Eisenhower’s ranking as a former president soared. Of course, there was no 24/7 multiple news media then, so you have to wonder if it could fast forward to 2020.

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I think we all need a break from the fast and furious of the past 3 1/2 years to reset our priorities a bit. We do need somebody of some stature to come in, roll up his or her sleeves, and start working on the massive pile of unsolved issues. We have to reassure most folks that there is a leadership system in place.

We need to merge the new and more modern with tried and true methods. The United States is not that bad off. It is our leadership that is the problem.

With all of the talking heads on CNN, Fox and MSNBC, this might be the toughest challenge of all.

Dave Pyatt writes from Mount Airy. Reach him at DPyatt2@verizon.net.

For any member of the community who would like to submit a guest community voices column for publication consideration, it should be approximately 700 words and sent to bob.blubaugh@carrollcountytimes.com.

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