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  • Reverend James Squire

Be Like Mike

I have noticed that most of the people who appear in the press are identified as conservatives, liberals, progressives, or radical right and radical left. How come we never hear from the independents since a move to the center seems to be the direction that we should be moving as a nation? Recall central to ethics is a concern for justice and fair distribution of power. Get rid of the extremes and find valuable points of moderation that can produce the ethical goal of civil discourse. We need to focus on listening to different points of view. This was what the scholar, Gail Goodwin, advocates in her book regarding President Lincoln, A Team of Rivals. No matter what your current political affiliation, if you regard Lincoln as one of the greatest presidents, why not follow his lead.

People who are not labeled with the identification of independent exist, but notice that you don’t hear much from them because of all the noise generated by hard core members of the other political labels. I have someone in mind who possesses what I think should be the way that voters should behave to bring about unity in our nation. Michael Smerconish, a political commentator, was an EA parent who possessed at least three traits that we should all hold. One, he defied political classification. He was liberal on certain views and conservative on others never venturing into the land of the extreme. He is also authentic living out our school motto, Esse Quam Videri, to be rather than to seem to be. I know him and his family. I am biased as well because of the kindness that he showed to one of my EA families who had lost a son in a tragic car accident. Mike is respectful in his daily life. He is the same in his life as a commentator on all things political. He also uses lateral thinking or thinking outside the box where he seems to have a strategy of seeing solutions that others haven’t considered. He looks for many sides of a political argument!

Mike’s respect got translated in such a way that he interviewed President Obama a number of times because of his respect for the person first and a consideration of Obama’s views second. I have never heard him make an ad hominin, attack against a person comment. Mike interviewed Obama on at least seven occasions.

What triggered my thinking today was reading a column by the conservative columnist, George Will, “Amend the Constitution to bar senators from the presidency (April 28, 2022).” I try to do as I say so I read a variety of political perspectives. Will referenced Jonathan Haidt’s recent article in the Atlantic that I shared with you in a recent blog. Let me point out that Haidt is not a conservative so Will is doing what we all should be doing which is “reaching across the aisle for some civil discourse.” Don’t get locked in to either CNN or Fox. Avoid confirmation bias at all costs!

Will makes the case that the early writers of the Constitution feared what we are experiencing today. Will says that “as President centric government has waxed, the Senate has waned, becoming increasingly a theater of performance behaviors by senators who are decreasingly interested in legislating and are increasingly preoccupied with using social media for self-promotion.” He cites one of the greatest offenders as Josh Hawley. Will states: “he treats the Senate as a mere stepping stone for his ascent to an office commensurate with his estimate of his talents.” In essence, follow the forefathers’ concern and pass a law that Senators can’t run to be President.

We had that declaration over the years referring to Michael Jordan, basketball player, par excellence, that we should “Be Like Mike!” I think that we should follow that accolade but change the recipient of the honor. Let’s “Be Like Mike (Smerconish)!” who is his own person with his own political views that defy an easy label, who thinks about creative solutions, and knows that the currency of helpful exchanges resides in respect. Sounds like good ethical stuff to me!

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