Saving Tinkerbell

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Tinkerbell’s flickering, dying, fading away.

How do we save her? Clap, children. Clap for all you’re worth.

So we’ll be clapping steadily now that the government’s back at work — even though the politicians have agreed to do it all over again in a couple of months. And despite all the clocks ticking in the bellies of all the grinning crocodiles — we still believe.

Well: Leastwise, we hope — despite the recent history of polarization and dysfunction.

Take the vigorous debate occasioned by Rep. Brenda Barton’s Facebook post comparing President Barack Obama to “de Furher.”

Previously in this space, we sympathized with her frustration in the face of the endless expansion of federal power and the manifest flaws in the Affordable Care Act. Nonetheless, we also lamented the divisive effect of comparing our president to an evil man who plunged the world into a war that spawned genocide on a horrifying scale.

The reactions ranged from efforts to defend Barton’s remarks while ignoring the absurdity of the comparison to overblown demands for her resignation.

So what happens when you demonize political opponents — and equate necessary political compromise with the desperate appeasement that unleashed Hitler?

Well, you get a useless, two-week government shutdown — that inflicts billions in damage to the economy without doing any good at all.

The shutdown occurred because reckless rhetoric has poisoned the well of compromise. Instead of solutions to the nation’s grave problems you get provocative Facebook posts.

So, we hope principled, freedom-loving, business-oriented Republicans like Rep. Barton will now abandon a strategy based on demonization — and instead seek solutions to our very real problems. We must curtail the frightening rise in the deficit. We must restrain the alarming rise in health care costs. We must bolster the economy. We need to reduce the unemployment rate, reform our schools, reform the tax code and foster economic growth and innovation. Republicans have historically presented wise, effective, real-world solutions to all those problems.

One thing’s certain: We need policies both parties can embrace — as they embraced Medicare and Social Security and a host of other programs that passed from subjects of fierce debate to objects of effective policy.

So clap, everyone. Clap your hearts out.

Maybe they’ll hear you.

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