Washington’s impacting our home

We are living in monumental times.

Does that sound like hubris? Bear with me; I make this claim sincerely.

A nearly palpable excitement is fueling the growing optimism of free-thinking Americans. We have been through some dark times. For a long time. But people are seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

No, my brain hasn’t baked in a too-sultry summer forge. My sanity didn’t blow away with last Tuesday’s intimidating winds. But I make this confession: I don’t watch cable news. Sticking to local newspapers from around the country and You Tube analyses of local news and government actions provides an accurate window into the broader world of problems and solutions.

Who can deny the existence of serious problems? Ultimately, every problem beyond the personal and unique requires a political solution, but nothing gets solved by a populace that continues to bury its head in the unshifting, hard-packed sand of partisan and identity politics. If we are to have a government for and of the people from the local to the national level, we must be willing to give up our notions about who it is we hate. We truly are all in this together.

Naysayers heap scorn on any notion of cooperative living-too kumbayah, the counterclaim goes. Humanity is too rotten. We’re too deep into the sinkhole of corruption to find our way out.

But every half-empty glass doubles as one that is half full, and there are people finding their way to the better side of humanity. The changes afoot are nothing to scoff at. On the local level, attractive new dwellings are brightening the Dunkirk housing scene. Yes, the vexing part of this deal is a cash transfer from taxpayers to landlords of dilapidated properties. The program could undoubtedly be tweaked to be more efficient while creating a scenario of sound and attractive housing for struggling residents. It’s a baby step in the right direction during these days of banking changes that have swung too far in shutting people out of mortgages. Over the past 25 years, banking rules have driven even low-cost mortgages out of the reach of many working people. While we continue to advocate for a swing toward more sensible mortgage banking, one can hope the STEL houses alleviate some problems.

Changes at the national level presage a shift toward better times for American workers, especially the working poor. Job growth measures show employment uptick across the demographic spectrum of American workers. Excitement over the re-negotiated trade deal is swelling because it promises to undo the damage NAFTA has done to Mexican farmers and American workers alike. Ironic, isn’t it, that when Bill Clinton signed NAFTA, progressive liberals decried it with prescient reason, but now, the rallying cry of Resist Liberals is … well, anything Donald Trump accomplishes is bad. The trade deal, Korean families re-united, a true tax cut, and diplomacy that trends toward curtailing wars in Middle Eastern countries rather than escalating them-all steps in the right direction.

Instead of knee-jerk naysaying, let’s indulge in a little kumbayah. Chautauqua County is a work in progress. Improvements in our everyday lives are slowly unrolling as a result of decisions in national politics.

And while that last claim will be met with varied opinions, I believe I have discovered a corner of the entertainment world we can all rally around. When all else fails and we wrangle over whether the glass is half full or half empty, there is always the Great British Baking Show-the kindest, gentlest reality show on television. Without a substantial prize, human venality is null. With opportunities for cooperation and empathy through the triumphs and disasters in the kitchen, human potential waxes.

It’s time to expand human consciousness to every room in that metaphoric house.

Only then can the glass become half full.

Renee Gravelle is a Dunkirk resident. Send comments to editorial@observertoday.com

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