Recent events show the continued political divide that separates our country into red and blue states, into conservatives and liberals and into percentages, either the 99 percent or the 1 percent.
This divisiveness is counter-productive for our country as we deal with critical issues like the every growing national debt, fiscal spending, taxes and health care. But the divisiveness in the form of political partisanship threatens us from finding a solution unless that solution advances the agenda of a political party.
When Congress is controlled by a rival party to the president's then it seems the No. 1 objective of the rival party members is to make sure that the president's policy does not succeed so his administration is seen as a failure. It doesn't matter if the president's name is Obama or Bush. Many in Congress are invested in the president's failure.
It wasn't always this way. Republicans and Democrats from Ronald Reagan to Tip O'Neill worked on national issues honestly and cooperatively and fought like cats and dogs on other issues. The motivation on both sides was the best interest of the country.
We had a local example of this compromise for the greater good just before Thanksgiving.
We love Raley's. It has quality food with much variety. It is clean and well stocked. Most important, it is consumer-oriented, with a friendly and helpful work force.
But negotiations broke down and many of its workers went on strike.
In other circumstances this would lead to bitter recriminations and long-term damage. Not at Raley's. The quality that the store is known for permeated the union and the management bargaining teams. They were able to identify and, most importantly, understand each other's problems and see if there was common ground. They were able to come to terms that both sides could graciously and honestly embrace.
The Raley's-union issue is a good example of two sides working together to come to a mutual agreement for a solution to issues by considering the realities of problems that affect the other side. Take a moment to walk in the other side's shoes and see things from their perspective.
If health care costs continue to rise, there will come a point when it is not affordable to the company. And pensions have no value if the pension fund is squeezed into insolvency. This is why the two sides need to seriously look at the realities of the other side of the issue as well as their own side.
But this seems unlikely to happen in Congress where the main objective seems to be to build political capital for themselves, their party and to destroy their opposition by sabotaging any hope of success.
Raley's and the union were able to work out an agreement and get back to work, which benefits everybody's interests. Washington could learn a lesson from our Raley's experience.
Aguirre is a small-business owner in Modesto.