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What we need is a good dose of common sense - not partisan politics


doing things as they ought to be done.” But, in the world of today’s politics Horace Greeley may have been


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more apropos in his description of the term. He said, “Common sense is very uncommon.” In the world of government we seem to live in a climate soaked by


partisan propaganda, each side trying to secure the voter’s loyalty by almost any means possible. Tey instigate outrage of the basest kind using patriotism, wedge issues and factions of all kinds to solidify their base. It is always “conservative versus liberal” – although con- servatism and liberalism have seen quite a metamorphosis over the years. It has been that way at the federal level for many years but, it has also become that way in our state and local races here in Arkan- sas. Campaigns for office are no longer like they once were. Instead of running a positive campaign for office based on one’s own merits – they run for office based on their opponents’ demerits or on issues that have nothing or very little to do with the office they are seeking. We are forced into making a decision based, not on who is best for the job, but who has the least negatives or is the least offensive. Our elections, at almost all levels, have become nothing less than a


struggle for power. Tis power struggle is like many wars. Tere are many casualties and very little progress. Tere seems to be no end in sight. But there needs to be. We need a good dose of common sense so that progress can be made instead of reaping the stalemate of partisan politics. Did you know the original founders of the United States op- posed the formation of a two-party system for the partisanship they believed it would foster? Their fear was that “politicians” would place more loyalty with the party than for the nation. Seems they may have been correct and it has filtered down into state and local government. I believe true public servants will use common sense and the art of compromise to accomplish what is good for the masses. Have you noticed that political extremists dominate the radio and TV talk shows even though the majority of voters remain moderate? It’s because the media has simply made a business decision. Contro- versy increases ratings. Tat our government and political system is harmed and diminished seems to be of no concern. Should we accept the extremism we see from both sides as “politics as usual?” Of course we shouldn’t! Democracy survives, even as a re- public like we are, on a properly informed citizenry. And that means providing good and honest information – not spin, misinformation, double-talk, sound bites that purposely take things out of context, and out-right lies. And one of the most ingenious and offensive tactics used in recent years is using issues in a race that will not and cannot be addressed by the person seeking that particular office. Why anyone, as the old saying goes, “with one eye and half sense” buys into that type of campaigning is beyond me. For the good of our country and state we must rise above partisan


politics! To do that we must leave our preconceived ideas behind and see things as they really are. Since, in today’s world of politics,


20 COUNTY LINES, FALL 2012


ne of Josh Billings’ quotes about common sense that I like is “Common sense is instinct, and enough of it is genius.” He also was quoted as saying, “Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and


things are usually looked at as liberal or conservative let’s look at standard


definitions of those philosophies. n Liberalism: A political move- ment founded on the autonomy and personal freedom of the individual, progress and reform; government by law with the consent of the governed. An economic theory in favor of laissez faire (French meaning “to let people do as they wish”) capitalism and the free market. A 19th century politi- cal idea that championed individual rights, civil liberties and private property. Principles, theories or


Seems To Me...


Eddie A. Jones Guest Writer


actions that guarantee individual freedoms in society. n Conservatism: A political philosophy that favors tradition and gradual change, where tradition refers to religious, cultural, or na- tionally defined beliefs and customs. Te term is derived from Latin, and means to preserve; to protect from harm or loss. It favors limited government involvement with respect to religious, cultural, or na- tionally defined beliefs and customs. It believes in adhering to moral absolutes. It emphasizes respect for traditional institutions, distrust of government activism and opposition to sudden change. Because of partisan politics over the past generation or two, these


standard definitions scarcely apply to today’s usage of the words. Te Democratic Party is referred to as the liberal party and the Repub- lican Party as the conservative party. Yet there are many moderate and conservative Democrats – especially in the South and in some western states. And there are many moderate and liberal Republicans especially in the northern and eastern states.


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