Chip Minemyer

When I was a kid, my Easter baskets offered a mix of enchanting treats that ranged from jelly beans (I only liked the pink ones) to chocolate rabbits (the ears went first) to plastic eggs containing an assortment of treasures.

As an adult, I find the idea of a basket of goodies to be more theoretical than confectionery.

What would I hope the spring/resurrection season brings this year?

World peace?

Economic vitality?

More COVID-19 vaccines?

More people willing to get those vaccines?

Here’s what would be really sweet: A mature approach to governance that doesn’t rely on fear and division – from both Democrats and Republicans.

Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey almost went there in a Zoom meeting this week with The Tribune-Democrat.

Toomey said he’s “pretty concerned” about “polarization of our politics” – evidence of which is as ubiquitous as colorful eggs at an Easter party.

But the GOP senator couldn’t resist the urge to blame someone on the “other” side.

“I have to tell you I am very deeply disappointed that President (Joe) Biden, who campaigned on the idea of trying to diminish the polarization, to try to find common ground, to be a unifying figure, has governed in the exact opposite fashion so far,” Toomey said.

Toomey added: “I’m sure Republicans, we’ve played our share of this. We’re a polarized country and that is reflected in Washington. But again, I think it’s completely false to suggest that there’s a complete equivalence here.”

Apparently, he has forgotten the day he voted to remove Republican Donald Trump from office for inciting an insurrection that had members of the Senate hiding for their own safety inside the Capitol during a riot carried out by supporters of Democrat Biden’s predecessor.

Nobody is looking for “equivalence” here. A little honesty about recent history would be nice.

And maybe some attempt to move in from the fringes and develop policy from the middle.

Wouldn’t it be wondrous if stewardship of resources and free trade weren’t just associated with the Republican Party?

Wouldn’t it be delightful if the embracing of social change and diversity issues weren’t just tenets of the Democratic Party?

Most real people live in the middle – supporting a mix of values – while national politicians and those who pull the strings play to the extremes.

Easter itself is an example of compromise and the merging of seemingly divergent traditions – the celebration of the resurrection from Christianity and the observation of fertility from pagan cultures.

Eostre – the namesake of our holiday – is a mythical figure associated with awakening, springtime and reproduction.

Legends tie “her” to the symbols of rabbits and eggs as representations of new life, and Eostre is associated with the practice of sharing seeds for the goddess in baskets, which later evolved into a rabbit delivering “goodies” for children.

Eggs in your basket? Thank Eostre.

Should Christians shun the giving of candy at Easter because the practice has ties to pagan customs? Well, the early church didn’t draw that line in the grass, instead embracing some pagan activities as ways to lure more people to the faith – where they could learn about the life and death of Jesus, about the empty tomb.

Toomey hinted at compromise when he suggested (gasp!) requiring background checks for all commercial gun sales.

He correctly noted that gun violence – with recent mass shootings in Georgia, Colorado and now California – is a product of both mental-health issues and the availability of firearms. “Ultimately, what we’ve got to try to do is understand what are the demons that drive the madness of these young men, which it’s almost always young men, to behave in this unbelievable fashion.”

But, he said, “I haven’t given up” on broader background checks for the purchase of guns – a non-starter with most Republicans.

Of course, Toomey has announced that he won’t seek re-election in 2022, which allows him the freedom to dip his toe into the pool of sensible governing on occasion.

What’s next? Democratic Sen. Bob Casey Jr. calling for lower taxes and less government spending?

Next thing you know, we’ll all start believing that a rabbit hops around delivering candy and painted eggs.

Hey, Easter Bunny, please leave my basket right there in the middle – where I’m sure to find it.

Chip Minemyer is the editor of The Tribune-Democrat and TribDem.com, and CNHI regional editor for Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia. He can be reached at 814-532-5091. Follow him on Twitter @MinemyerChip.

Chip Minemyer is the editor of The Tribune-Democrat and TribDem.com, and CNHI regional editor for Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia. He can be reached at 814-532-5091. Follow him on Twitter @MinemyerChip.

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