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Our challenges after the tragedies of 2012.
Working together to make a kinder, gentler nation is a worthy resolution, indeed, E.J. Dionne. Although I don't think we'll be working together until we breach the discourse barrier suggested in your commentary. Many conservatives have no illusions about federal government. They use the term as a pejorative and, unlike Kathy, entertain the illusion that we can live without a federal government--except for national security, that is. Your commentary provides a balanced perspective: "Government, without community, religious and nonprofit associations, cannot solve our problems all by itself." In order to make a kinder, gentler nation, we must use all our community and personal resources.
Hoping for a "kinder,gentler" 2013 reminds owatonnabill of the "Mideast peace process"--a mantra we've been hearing ever since Ike but which remains as unattainable today as ever. In 60+ years on this planet owatonnabill has seen precious little kindness and gentility. What he HAS seen is the steady, inexorable increase in greed, entitlement philosophy, the motivation to get something for nothing and the overwhelming need of the species to avoid responsibility at all costs. About the best think you can say about 2012 is that the Mayans screwed up. 2013 does't look to be much different.
Re: "Hoping for a 'kinder, gentler' 2013 reminds owatonnabill of the 'Mideast peace process' ..." Despite the fact that owatonna's phrasing is uncharacteristically sloppy ("hoping" is not parallel to engaging in a process), owatonnabill's comment does amplify the weakness of the headline writer's verb choice: "hoping" doesn't accomplish anything.
George H.W. Bush exemplified his tradition of public service when he expressed a determination to direct traditional American values toward making the United States "a kinder and gentler nation." In his Inaugural Address he pledged to use American strength as "a force for good." Bush 41's goal was as lofty as the goal of establishing peace in the mideast. Neither goal can be attained by hope, however. Bush 41 knew that.
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