You know what, democracy can be messy. It sure can. When you look at history, there are plenty of examples of that. A democracy is made up of plethora of different people and viewpoints so that everyone’s not going to agree on everything. There will be disagreements. Political parties push their agendas and vie for more power. At times, arguments can get passionate and quite heated. Again, if you look at the past, there are plenty of examples. The problem these days is that divisions and severe partisanship have gotten dangerously extreme.
If you look back at the 1980s and 1990s in Washington DC politics, sure, there were plenty of disagreements and battles in Congress. But there was also compromise and bipartisanship as well. Republicans and Democrats in Congress could sit down and hash out compromises to get things done. Senator Ted Kennedy for example was very liberal and quite passionate about his views, yet he could also sit down with Republicans and hammer out a deal to get legislation passed. While neither side got everything they wanted, in the end, they would get legislation passed for the good of the American people. Sure, it wasn’t perfect. But they were able to get things done much better than today.
Even before Donald Trump took office, political divisions were getting pretty severe, and then when Trump took office, they got much worse since he made a point to encourage and exacerbate divisiveness. We’re seeing political extremes who don’t want to compromise, and while both parties have been guilty of this lately, the Republicans have gotten much worse about it. A disturbing example of this is the statement by Texas Republican Chip Roy when he said that he would “oppose almost everything that Congress does.” He clearly means that he intends to try to stop any significant legislation that is proposed by the Democratic majority in large part to try to increase the chances of Republicans gaining seats in the 2022 midterm elections. And Roy is not the only one guilty of this. Mitch McConnell for some years now has been going out of his way to obstruct and stop legislation proposed by Democrats in his obsession to try to gain and hold a Republican majority in the Senate. Since he is the Republican leader in the Senate, he is essentially trying to gain and hold as much power as he can in that chamber.
It seems that too many people in Congress are showing more loyalty to their party than to the United States Constitution and the American people as a whole. And in the Republicans’ case, too many are bowing to the authoritarian style whims and demands of Donald Trump as well. This goes against what Democracy is supposed to be about.
I’m not one of those people that glorifies the old days so to speak. While I think history is fascinating, it is important to be honest about the past and try to understand the good, the bad and the in-between. But one thing I will say is that we need to regain the ability to talk to one another, to listen to one another, to be open minded, to compromise, and to get things done. Both Democrats and Republicans need to do better in this regard. Furthermore, in the Republican Party’s case, they need to separate themselves from Donald Trump and his dangerously authoritarian tendencies and lies. Democracy frequently requires compromise because of the diversity of society. Everyone needs to remember that it’s more important to stand up for the United States Constitution, the American people, and Democracy than be blindly loyal and follow a particular political party or individual. Too many people these days are essentially being more loyal to their political party (and in many Republicans’ case, to Donald Trump) than to the United States Constitution. This trend is not only disturbing, it’s dangerous because history is full of examples of things like this and how they can lead to authoritarianism and dictatorship.
What Happened to Civil Debate, Open-mindedness, the Ability to Compromise, and Getting Things Done in US Politics?