Beltway Beat — Friday, June 25th

by Brian Wilson for FOX Fan Central

Can't We All Just Get Along?

There used to be a thing in this country known as fast food.  There was once a time when you could enter a place like Mickey D's or good 'ol KFC and be served quickly and efficiently with a smile. Sadly, this is no longer the case.  Now a trip to an "alleged" fast-food restaurant often becomes a test of patience, as customers endure bad, excruciatingly slow service from surly clerks who grunt at you as they shove your (often incorrect) order across the counter...without so much as a thank you.

I once visited China where I had the opportunity to eat at a McDonald's restaurant. I observed at the time that there was virtually no difference between the McDonald's in China and the ones in the U.S., except that in China the food was hot, the clerks were polite, and they all spoke excellent English.  But, as I often do, I digress from my larger point.

I think many in this country have forgotten what it means to be polite and how to serve the customer.  Nowhere is this more in evidence than in the political arena.  Politics get uglier and more rude by the day. There was a time when those in politics treated opponents with dignity and respect even when they disagreed vehemently on the issues.  There was a time when politicians focused more on serving the customer (by this I mean constituents) than in milking each and every issue for an ounce of political advantage.

Sure, there is a thin veneer of politeness most of the time.  You often hear members of the House and Senate refer to others as "the distinguished gentleman from so and so" — or "my good friend from the great state of blah, blah, blah."  But about one micrometer beneath that facade of politeness lies a brutal game that often gets personal and rude.

It was nice to see Washington pause recently to honor the life and accomplishments of Ronald Reagan.  Even those who intensely disliked the policies and politics of the 40th president looked for nice things to say.  I was also good to see President Bush put aside partisanship to speak warmly about former president Clinton as his official portrait was unveiled at the White House.  For a brief, shining moment, I saw glimpses of the old Washington.

Of course, it didn't last. 

Within a day, old battles were again raging — elephants and donkeys were wailing away on each other with glee. Shouldn't we expect our politicians to disagree without being disagreeable? 

By the way, in the spirit of politeness, let me thank you for pausing to read this column. And I hope you will join me Sunday for a broadcast where the tough issues will be discussed in a polite and friendly way.  Everyone will leave with a thank you and a handshake.  Now if I could just get the fast-food folks to follow suit.  

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