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Opinion: Parties Are Over

Opinion: Parties Are Over

— by David Eugene Perry

I’m pretty sure that everyone who is reading this isn’t whom I’m trying to reach. I won’t say “who needs to read it” because that smacks of the entitled, elitist anti-dialogue construct this article is an attempt to deconstruct. So, here goes.

Rodney King had it right: We DO all need to get along (or at least try). The problem (issue? God / Goddess, triaging language and pronouns would challenge the next generation of ChatGPT) is — does anyone remember Rodney King? In this moment of putrid polypolarization, is anything older than the most recent Twitter (ah X) virality or TikTok timelapse even newsworthy?

newsworthy – adjective, archaic, see “newspapers”.

News is no longer what we make it. To paraphrase the Grey Lady (another self-dating descriptive worthy of the NY Times “Connections” online game I play in bed with my husband every day): all the news that fits, we print.

“News” no longer really exists unless it’s “breaking” and after the last almost decade of “breaking news” this country is broken. This country is tired. This country of 2024 is the Japan / China / Spain / Italy / Germany of 1924. We are on the precipice of precipitous change – ready or not and trust me: we’re not ready, but here it comes.

As the marble inscription goes: “Those who do no not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”

I refuse to be condemned or to condemn. We (as in “E Pluribus Unum”) DO have enemies, but it’s not each other. My ancestor Oliver Hazard Perry famously said: “We have met the enemy and they are ours” (War of 1812). 150 years later, the cartoon character Pogo opined it more correctly for our time: “We have met the enemy, and they are us.”


I am, in the vernacular of my native Virginia, a “yella’ dog Democrat”: ie, someone who would vote for a blond canine before casting a vote for the GOP. Having said that, unlike Russia / North Korea / China / Iran, etc, the United States is not a one-party nation. Our SYSTEM demands the three Cs: Compromise, Congeniality, Community.

We haven’t been doing too well lately in that regard.

The other day, I was in a “post election debrief” with a professional organization of which I am a member. Ostensibly non-partisan, the tone was clearly “Democrats good / Republicans bad.” That’s not helpful and I called them out.

I don’t have to vote Republican but I do need to live with them, work with them, SOLVE with them, and vice versa.

My grandmother, born in 1898, voted in every election since women had the vote (think on that). One of her many wisdoms: “Isn’t it good we all are different, because wouldn’t life be boring otherwise?”

Life in 2024 isn’t boring, but it IS stressful: Israel / Gaza / Ukraine / Trump / Biden / Dems / GOP / Oiy.

Like Madeline Kahn in “Blazing Saddles” (I continue to date myself with now politically incorrect references) “I’m tired.”

The country is tired. The Dems are tired. Republicans are tired. The WORLD is tired but soon we’ll all wake up to vote — again (and again and again). My hope is that when we do rouse from our fevered sleep we will vote as Americans, and not as partisans. Our world and our country and our children demand a new way, a collegial way, a conversational way into the next generation. 

26 years ago, I worked my way around the world aboard ship: one year, 65 nationalities, one crew. I was in several storms, one of which threw me and everything in my cabin into a cantilevered chaotic mess. Eventually, we got back to an even keel and continued on.

I’ll let the analogy sail for itself. 

Google Cincinnatus and tell me what you find. Long gone are the days of “benevolent dictators.” Now, we need to find a way to listen and learn from each other and dictate our own future. The only people laying down their plows to save the Commonweal are us. If we continue to party in “my party right or wrong” partisan politics, truly, the party will be over.

It’s time for an even keel and starboard and port listening to each other to chart a middle course. Otherwise, there aren’t enough lifeboats to pick up the flotsam.

David Eugene Perry is the award winning author of the critically acclaimed mystery thriller “Upon This Rock” and a longtime communications consultant.