The complete phrase is, “Why be difficult when, with just a little more effort, you can be impossible.” The slogan seems appropriate in today’s political world. One analyst stated we would have to go back to the Civil War era (1861-1865) to find a similar level of partisan disagreement, aka hate.

My liberal grandmother, Emma Nelson (my mother’s mother), and very conservative grandfather, William Shannon, had heated political disagreements whenever they were in close proximity. Grandpa did not hit women, so violence between the two never happened. But I shall always remember my father relating a time when his father came home from voting with a black eye. Then and now, a big majority of rural residents are conservative, but Grandpa had fisticuffs with a liberal voter, apparently. My grandmother and grandfather were good people with different political philosophies. Our citizens are divided too, resulting in two partisan parties. Neither party is evil, but they make little effort to find common ground usually, resulting in lack of progress on the citizen’s business.

The Republican and Democratic parties should make an earnest effort to work together, each side compromising, to find solutions for our country’s several important problems.

COVID-19 is a good example. Scientists have developed easily administered injections to prevent the potentially deadly infection, and they have proven almost 100% safe and effective after millions of doses have been administered. Too many people refuse to take them. In a recent poll, 29% of respondents stated they would not get vaccinated. Hospitals in some states are filled to capacity. In response to the crisis, many governmental agencies and private businesses have required employees to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 exam. Responses from (primarily) conservatives claim the requirement is unconstitutional, a violation of civil rights, nothing but an attempt to control citizens (aka Communistic) or other bogus claims. Employees have a clear choice: comply or find another job. Those who have complied have the right to believe they are reasonably well-protected from those who refuse to accept protection. Courts have ruled the requirements to wear masks and submit to vaccination requirements are legal.

The 2020 election. To the best of my knowledge, all reputable news organizations agree the election was honest. A valid question is: does Trump really believe he won, or does he know he lost and is casting doubts to energize his supporters … and raise money? We will probably never know. From indications, the recount in Arizona will confirm Biden’s victory. Conservatives claim a great number of votes were cast by non-citizens. Because our law allows only American citizens to vote, an objective study to determine the facts should be made. Some Republican-led states are passing regulations to reduce the ease of voting, claiming the purpose is to ensure only those legally entitled to vote can vote. Methods include limiting voting hours, removing voting boxes and creating other problems. Any eligible person should be able to easily cast a ballot, but states have a lot of leeway to create problems in that regard.

January 6, 2021. Depending on the reporting party, the assault on our Capitol was a violent insurrection or a boisterous picnic. Reasonably objective citizens will conclude former President Trump bears some responsibility for the event. “Fight, fight like hell” was one of his comments. Probably as an excuse in case he loses, he has long claimed elections are rigged … against him, naturally.

The budget. This is another area where Republicans and Democrats have different priorities … usually. Democrats are widely regarded as “The Tax and Spend Party,” while Republicans are considered “tight” with the purse strings. But, under Trump’s presidency, gigantic deficits were created, and most Republicans were quiet as church mice. But with Biden’s presidency, financial prudence is again paramount with conservatives. Regardless of which party is controlling the purse strings, we should have a balanced budget unless an unexpected emergency arises. To avoid adding to our worrisome national debt, raise taxes.

Foreign policy. While Trump was apparently correct in saying our NATO partners were not paying their share of defense dollars, he was overly critical of them, but too buddy-buddy for most of his presidency with Russia, China and North Korea. Those countries are not our friends. He was correct in stating we should leave Afghanistan. The Taliban appear sure to fully control the country; the citizens, and particularly women, will suffer greatly. We have too many problems in our own country to try to be the world’s police force. Besides, our efforts too often fail. It is too early in Biden’s presidency to rate his successes or failures overall, but leaving Afghanistan is the best choice.

Immigration. Illegal immigration is much higher than when Trump was president, but not even remotely close to a record. The often-heard conservative claim that immigrants, legal or not, are a giant financial drain is not backed up by facts.

Ted Shannon is a Mokelumne Hill resident and a retired CHP officer and who be reached at

Ted Shannon is retired California Highway Patrol officer and  Mokelumne Hill resident. Contact him at


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