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Lowering The Decibel Level

I don’t know about you, but I am pleased that pronouncements from the White House have substantially decreased under our newly-elected President.

For the past four years, you could almost count on getting three or four “tweets” in the early morning hours many of which were attacks or controversial statements which would then dominate the news cycle for the next 24 hours. It left you feeling out-of-breath.

Some of the “tweets” concerned the usual political targets like the “Democratic Socialists” or “left-wing enemies” like Nancy Pelosi. But, some were focused on people who had been appointed by the administration itself — think about poor Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General, or even General “Mad Dog” Mattis who had been appointed Defense Secretary with great flourish and flash before falling out of favor.

The culture wars of who was wrong and why, the search for disunion and controversy was continual and constant.

Fast forward to today — boring, old, tight-lipped “Common Joe” Biden. We have gone from the frying pan into the cold room. We are finding out again that there is more to life than pronouncements from the White House.

The “truth-be-told” is that I think we are all a bit relieved and appreciative of the change in tone. All of our problems have not gone away nor have our differences vanished.

But, we are talking more now of how we can attack our common problems instead of each other — getting the country vaccinated and fixing up our crumbling infrastructure.

I know that the comparison is not completely accurate, but my reading of history takes me back to the years after the end of World War II.

The country was exhausted, out-of-breath. It had come out of a terrible and costly war. Rationing and deprivation had driven the home economy for an extended period of time. People just wanted to take a break, live their lives, and get back together.

In 1952, they would elect as President a rather “ho-hum” quiet man of few words, General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

He would focus on rebuilding the post-war economy, strengthening international agreements, and building a huge new system of Interstate highways. Home building also flourished.

When asked how he would define America, Eisenhower made the commonplace statement that it was a country where you could have a barbecue in your own backyard.

However you describe the time we are in now, I think we all could agree that after the past four years and the battle against COVID, it is time to take a break from our culture wars.

Pouring kerosene on our differences is emotionally exhausting.

We all may not be able to have a barbecue in our own backyard, but we can work on common challenges together and hope that each and everyone gets a “shot” at the American dream.

I, for one, am glad that the “decibel level” in our public discourse has been lowered at bit so that we can again focus on our common aspirations as Americans.

Rolland Kidder is a Stow resident.

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