The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

Common Sense, Regained

This is the second time I’ve stolen my friend Kyle-Anne Shriver’s blog title… 

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, arriving

After Rep. Gifford’s shooting, I wrote this:

Whenever someone asks me how I think the year will play out politically, I usually say that there will be a point where “common sense” will break out. Political leaders will come to realize that good governance doesn’t require hyperpartisanship, and that same attitude will-given time-filter down to the electorate as a whole.

I thought this would happen around the summer. But with yesterday’s events, I’m not sure we can wait that long.

This evening, Rep. Giffords returned to the House floor to vote on the debt ceiling compromise bill. Her vote? Aye.

There’s a message for us in that, I believe.

In the months since Rep. Gifford’s shooting, our political environment has become increasingly more and more toxic. Democrats slang mud at Republicans, who slang it back. Some progressives demanded their ideological allies not compromise on anything, while some of my ideological allies in the Tea Party movement did the same. We in political circles spent the last few months engaged in what the philosopher Wittgenstein would call “gassing,” or BS-ing for the uninitiated. And, all the while, the American people saw, in my estimate, our politics at its worst.

More from that original post:

In the senselessness of yesterday, if we can find a way for common sense to break out-find a way to walk back from this ledge I see us on-then maybe the loss and destruction of life that took place will have some meaning. The most fitting tribute to yesterday’s victims-especially the nine-year-old who hadn’t lived long enough to even form an opinion-is for us all to step back, take a few breaths, see what we’ve become…and stop being it.

At least metaphorically speaking, the country was on a ledge.

I don’t know whether the country was truly about to default or not; I heard arguments both ways that were convincing. What I do know is that the specter of that possibility was scaring not just Americans, but the countries worldwide whose economies are intertwined-or put differently, supported by-ours. No one really seemed to know what tomorrow would bring…and it was that thought that had many unnerved. Had we fallen-or if we’d fallen-no one can, for sure, say what would’ve happened.

Deals were made, unmade, hypothesized, shot down…until this weekend. A compromise-that ugly word-emerged. Not perfect, by a long shot…but one that was, by and large, an adult solution to a problem caused by childlike adults.

And in the moment where the decision had to be made, a member of the minority party, who had endured more than many of the other 535 members of Congress could begin to comprehend, showed up.

Not, I believe, for some political ploy…but to say to all of us: “Grow up; get over yourselves. Let’s do the work that our country demands of us, and let’s not let anything get in the way of that work.”


This is our outbreak of common sense, as that post in January was called. This is our leadership, if no one else, seeing what we’ve become…and, at least for a moment, and stopping being it. I believe that, tomorrow, that common sense will extend to the Senate when they vote on this bill.  And even in my cynicism, I hope this moment does last, and I hope its lesson does filter down to the rest of us.

After all, it is the summer. And like most men, I enjoy being right.






Written by Coby Dillard

August 1, 2011 at 8:33 pm

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