Stop the mud-slinging. It is time to put an end to all the over-the-top partisan bickering.
In less than a week, U.S. voters will have an opportunity to go to the polls for an important midterm election. This should be an opportunity to finally unite a country that seems to be hopelessly split upon party lines.
Unfortunately, it doesn't look that way.
For almost a decade, it seems, Washington has been a place where two sides have dug trenches and vowed to fight about any issue, no matter how small - or how important.
It's like a battle of the bands, both trying to play as loud as possible to drown out the other, but neither paying any attention to the quality of their own music.
We've had fights about Vince Foster, Monica Lewinsky, Tora Bora and Abu Ghraib. We've watched as both sides accused the other of trying to steal a presidential election. We've heard battles over just about every judicial nominee with a record to measure. We've seen politicians sling dirt and threaten impeachment, even though it's clear that very few Americans really enjoy this mud bath.
What's the point?
Washington, it seems, has been mired in unnecessary turf wars for the better part of a decade. Now, the Republican party itself seems to be not-so-quietly imploding, a victim of infighting about who is truer to conservative principles, and over the Bush administration's policy in Iraq. Can Democratic infighting be far behind?
We can help stop this squabbling. We can't control what goes on everywhere. But we can start with our own family, friends, and business associates. We can start with ourselves.
Let's vow that this election will be the start of a more civilized debate. Let's disagree only about policy, not personalities. Let's remember that most people who choose a life of public service really do, at least a little bit, want to make things better for all Americans.
Being bipartisan isn't something ugly. Cooperation and communication are good things. Don't we remember anything from kindergarten?
Our centerpiece story this week profiles a leading figure in the U.S. plastics industry: Bill Carteaux, president of the Washington-based Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.
Carteaux wasn't a stranger to plastics when he joined SPI less than two years ago. He came from injection molding machinery maker Demag Plastics Group. SPI members knew Bill, and Bill knew SPI. As you might expect, he came to the job with a lot of ideas about SPI's personnel, mission and effectiveness. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that he hit the ground running.
Mike Verespej, our Washington-based staff reporter, talked to many sources - both inside and outside the beltway - to measure how Carteaux is doing. Many were impressed with his level of energy and enthusiasm. Carteaux is no shrinking violet - he has plenty of self-confidence, and he's not shy about sharing his opinions.
We congratulate Carteaux for building upon the work of his predecessor, Don Duncan. SPI's health is on the rebound. The group still doesn't have the stature that a group representing the large and diverse plastics industry should command - but after years of wandering, SPI is on the right path.