That question was raised at a 'meetup' of Monitor writers and readers last week. The answers were surprising.
After the polarizing campaigning of the November midterm elections will come the need to actually govern. When a new Congress takes its seats, who should be responsible for bridging the partisan divide in Washington?
Big problems face the United States, from enervating joblessness to a mountain of federal debt. As the country is seeing with conservative candidates who pledge to repeal “Obamacare” or to strip it of funds, solving big problems – like health care – is best done with backing from both parties.
But the two sides will have to be on civil speaking terms if they hope to reach common ground. Whose job is it to make that happen?
Two years ago, President Obama promised to change the political tone in Washington. Shouldn’t the onus be on him to follow through on that promise – especially if predictions of a divided Congress come true?
Pennsylvania Avenue, however, is a two-way street, literally and figuratively. Don’t congressional leaders also bear responsibility?
And what about the media, that feed on conflict? Or Americans themselves – the mostly silent middle that lacks the activist twitch that energizes the fringes on the left (2008) and right (2010)?