The problem with watching my favorite news program is that I end up rewriting this column from scratch. The current theme is not Democrats vs. Republicans nor even Trump against whomever or whatever but a loss of civility in our political discourse. Parallel with this and equally disturbing is a lack of respect for the facts. Finally, the prevalence of what is sometimes called "Second Amendment solutions" (i.e. assassination) as a way to push one's political agenda seriously challenges the civilized order.

With respect to this last concern we have two recent examples. First, Jo Cox, a female politician in Great Britain who opposed the withdrawal of Britain from the European Union, was stabbed and shot to death by a citizen who held an opposite view.


More recently, a person of liberal Democratic leanings fired multiple shots from an assault rifle into a team of Republican politicians practicing for the annual baseball contest between Democratic and Republican members of the House of Representatives. Ironically enough, the only fatality from this incident was the shooter himself. But one of the representatives was seriously wounded and there were other persons wounded in the attack.

The game itself drew twice the normal number of fans. Before the game the players from both sides knelt together and prayed in the middle of the diamond. Sometimes, the worst of crimes reminds the rest of us to listen to our better angels.

With respect to the lack of respect for obvious facts, there was my family member who was sure that Barack Obama was a Muslim and would impose Sharia law on America if elected. The answers were, of course, no and no. Yet there are still demonstrations here against Sharia Law, the body of restrictive religious rules established in some Muslim countries.

This is a fantastically foolish and false fear. Plus, can you imagine what would have been the reaction of Michelle Obama to such a suggestion? Even presidents have a superior to whom they must report.

We can all agree on certain issues. Our national infrastructure needs a massive overhaul. The richest among us need to pay more taxes to fund this effort and to reduce the annual deficit. It is time again to readjust the tax structure that supports the various trust funds that pay for our social safety net programs, principally Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance and Medicare, all components of the Social Security Act of 1935 as amended.

Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O'Neal performed this task in 1986. It is mandatory.

Our educational system needs to be matched up to the requirements of our economy. Tax loopholes that allow the top executives of so-called nonprofit enterprises to pay themselves multiple millions in salaries and benefits need to be closed. Our defense expenditures need to be reprogrammed, reducing expenditures on procuring overpriced and obsolescent weapon systems like aircraft carriers and super fighter planes, and toward more troops to share the burden of battle and more robotic weaponry to fight the battles of today and tomorrow.

Sentiment doesn't win battles, foresight does.

It is time to stop bickering and get to work. The nation has needs.

John Culleton writes from Eldersburg. Email him at