- DJ Gallo, ESPN.com
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Don’t give up hope, America.
Yes, Congress continues to hover near record low approval ratings, seemingly unable to accomplish anything of worth. Sure, American politicians are increasingly divided and unwilling to work together on any issue. Granted, just this week, Richard Mourdock – a Senate candidate from Indiana – illustrated this stubbornness by saying: “My idea of bipartisanship frankly going forward is to make sure we have such a Republican majority in the U.S. House, U.S. Senate and the White House that if there's going to be bipartisanship it's going to be Democrats coming our way.”
All of this may seem depressing to the hundreds of millions of us who simply want our elected officials to set aside rigid ideology and compromise on important issues for the betterment of the entire country.
But today there is a glimmer of hope out of Wisconsin. Yes, Wisconsin – perhaps the most fractured state in America. The state that for the past year has delivered headlines such as these:
Because for one magical day, Wisconsin legislators came together and – by unanimous vote in both houses – named December 12, 2012, or 12-12-12, Aaron Rodgers Day in Wisconsin.
Don’t for a second think that Aaron Rodgers Day is some sort of jokey and unimportant designation. Just listen to State Rep. Gary Bies: “I think Aaron Rodgers really deserves it because he's a tremendous football player on the field, but he's also a tremendous human being off the field.”
Or watch Rodgers himself, dressed in a suit coat and standing behind a podium with Wisconsin legislators of both parties flanking him in Packers No. 12 jerseys, solemnly state that, “It's a great opportunity to give perspective on how a career — and the way you live your life — can have an impact on the society you live in.”
Oh, this is definitely serious stuff. Society-impacting stuff.
If our elected officials can unanimously declare state holidays for football quarterbacks, who knows what else can be achieved?
Can they agree on a limited, yet fair federal budget? Unlikely. But maybe they can pass a law declaring American football as the greatest football.
Can our elected officials figure out a way to produce more jobs? Probably not. But both houses of Congress can probably come together and name the high-five the official sports celebration of America.
Can both parties agree on a foreign policy that shows strength but not arrogance? No way. However, the House and Senate might be able to find common ground by passing the U.S. National Anthem is the Best Anthem at the Olympics Act of 2012.
We must seize this moment in history and put America back on the right course. Our nation faces many challenges, yet there are also so many quarterbacks who have started four years in the NFL yet to be honored. Who's to say what's more important? Not Wisconsin.
Thank you for your example, Wisconsin. And thank you, Aaron Rodgers, a great American.