If you’ve been awake the past week, you might have heard a few things here and there about our government and newly-elected administration. President Donald J. Trump may help ring a few bells if you are still struggling to put a finger on what exactly I’m talking about.
In probably the most controversial election in generations, lawmakers are digging their heels into the dirt and promising a battle in upcoming years. Elected governmental workers, organizations, and the people alike have not hesitated in releasing resistance statements, shows of solidarity, or anything else that conveys one key message: We are not with you, and we will never be. We will resist.
All of these displays of fortitude are something every American citizen has a right to, thanks to our First Amendment rights (thank you, First Amendment). It is something that can make you tip your hat to those legally using their rights to make their voice heard, no matter where you fall on the political ideology spectrum.
However, in a time where political war is not an empty threat but rather a promise, American citizens need to consider the effects of political gridlock in Washington.
It’s easy to see that Washington is possibly more divided than ever. With ideologies spanning from Bernie Sanders to Ted Cruz, common ground is beginning to look more like a “keep off the grass” area than the public park it should be thought of as.
This feeling of many lawmakers to resist, on both sides of the spectrum, hurts the American people. While we may feel a bit of pride for officials standing for what they believe is right, maybe even granting them the number one trending hashtag on Twitter for the night, we as the American people lose.
You see, when governmental officials either blatantly resist or walk away pointedly, nothing is being accomplished but a feel-good display of self.
Consider this. If a lawmaker you really admire walked away from their post on account of “just not being able to work with them,” that lawmaker is out. Gone. Their voice is now silent in making real change as they could have done in office as appointed to do by the people. They are no longer a legitimate force in changing policy like they could have been while still in office.
Sadly, this display is not uncommon in today’s political arena.
Call me crazy, but I want those in government to make policy. I want lawmakers throughout the whole spectrum to listen to even the most opinionated arguments, learn from it, and find common ground. This will take a real, conscious effort on lawmaker’s part, and sadly, this effort has seemingly not been made over the course of the last 16 years or so.
I truly believe that we can learn from each other’s ideas and ways of thinking. There is validity in almost every researched and factually-legitimate argument. We need to stop thinking that people are crazy, insensitive, dumb, etc. just because they have a different way they view life.
So Washington, these next four years, I’m not asking you give up on your ideals. I’m not asking you sacrifice your entire way of thinking. I’m not asking you to pretend everything is alright. I’m not asking you to pretend it’s easy. Instead, I’m asking you to turn a fair and open ear to those unlike you and find a way to see that even your most bittier enemy is a human. I’m asking that you do what you were elected to do; not to stand for your personal beliefs or ideologies, but the beliefs of the people that elected you, and make policy. Period. It won’t be easy, but we the people are counting on you.