“There's a view in this country that everybody's going through what they're going through for the first time.” (Cokie Roberts) from the Jack’s Winning Words blog. That saying would go well side-by-side with the saying by George Santayana – “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
George Santyana was a Spanish philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist who lived in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. His famous saying has been paraphrased and perverted many times and has lots of variations in use today. Essentially, Cokie’s remark is built upon the premise of that saying.
Were George around today, another of his sayings would be a perfect fit for the political fanaticism that we are witnessing in Washington – “Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.” I think that both sides have lapsed into dogmatic fanaticism that has caused almost complete paralysis. Indeed members of both parties have forgotten their aim, which is to serve the people, and have instead taken up the banners of the most radical elements of their constituency and locked themselves into an ideological battle in which there are no winners.
So as we approach the Fiscal Cliff at the end of the year, another saying of George Santyana might serve well if perverted a bit. George said, “When men and women agree, it is only in their conclusions; their reasons are always different.” If you substitute Republicans and Democrats for the men and women in that saying it make perfect sense as we watch the “negotiations” that are going on in Washington. Both sides agree that they would prefer to avoid taking America over the cliff, but for completely different reasons and with different approached to a solution.