Friday, December 21, 2007

Senators Bond and McCaskill work together to help veterans

These two are extremely partisian politicians fight fiercly for their issues and normally fight the party line, but when it comes to veterans issues there should be NO party lines, and they are working together to try and improve mental health care and treatment for soldiers and veterans, can the rest of Congress learn from this? We can hope the nations veterans deserve the "Promise" that Congress has promised them since wars began and men and women have served this nation.

Senators show us better wayAn amazing thing happened in Missouri politics this week that should grab the attention of voters and politicians all across our state and nation.
Sen. Kit Bond and Sen. Claire McCaskill issued a joint news release.


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For those who don't pay attention much to the polarized nature of politics in Missouri and our nation's capital, this might not seem like such a big deal. But truly it is.
Bond is the dean of Republicans in Missouri. He's been a fierce supporter of the Iraq war effort and an unapologetic backer of President George Bush even during the president's toughest times. Bond backed his friend and fellow Republican Jim Talent in his failed re-election attempt to the U.S. Senate last year. Talent lost in what was at times a nasty race to Democrat McCaskill.
The race was symbolic of everything that is wrong with politics today.
Two smart candidates, two good people, tore at each other with vicious personal attacks. It was ugly and beneath the dignity of both candidates.
And now, mere months later, here are McCaskill and Bond standing above the fray and working together.
This is what statesmanship can be. This is how politicians who have differing philosophies work together for the common good.
The news release this week was on a bill the two Missourians are supporting to protect airline workers from losing their jobs during mergers. It is likely to be of benefit to Missouri workers. But it's hardly the first time Bond and McCaskill have been on the same page. Both have been heavily involved in trying to improve mental health services for our soldiers both while they're in the service and when they return home. Here in southwest Missouri, we've seen firsthand the devastating effects of the war on terror as too many young men and women have returned facing mental demons from the horrors they've seen and experienced.
Mental health professionals and veterans organizations have made it clear that there's a crisis in our country waiting to explode if we don't do more about taking seriously the mental health needs of our veterans. That's what supporting the troops is all about, and even in the context of a divisive political debate over the prosecution of this war, that's an issue that should cross partisan lines.
It doesn't take a Republican or Democrat to be passionate about the quality of care our soldiers receive upon their return to our country. It only takes an American.
And it should give hope to American taxpayers, and particularly those of us in Missouri, that our two U.S. Senators are putting differences aside enough to work together to find common ground.
That's a phrase that Americans should remember: Common ground. It's the title of a new political book by conservative Cal Thomas and liberal Bob Beckel calling on our politicians to end the age of polarization and find those issues upon which philosophical opponents can still agree.
Imagine if the efforts of Bond and McCaskill — two strongwilled politicians who still have plenty of room for disagreement — could catch on in Missouri. Can anybody even dream of the day when Gov. Matt Blunt and Attorney General Jay Nixon would issue a joint news release?
Heck, their staffs barely return each other's calls.
Bond and McCaskill offer weary voters hope. Disagree when you must — fiercely even. But Americans want leaders who can be adult enough to find common ground when possible. In the Show Me State, that should be the norm. We salute Senators Bond and McCaskill for leading the way.

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