Opinion: It’s not ‘us’ and ‘them.’ It’s we the people.

Change is needed.

  • Thursday, March 25, 2021 2:01pm
  • Opinion

By Deborah Craig

Our government’s elegant democratic design encompasses a system of checks and balances, as well as a requirement of Congressional collaboration (majority vote.) Our two-party system historically managed within this structure — negotiating, compromising and finding solutions to problems viewed from different perspectives.

It wasn’t always pretty but it mostly worked and resulted in a more balanced, centrist approach. It was once even considered a political gift for a Democrat or Republican to have the ability to negotiate and broker a deal. That’s how democracy functions: working together and compromising.

The GOP was historically a bastion of fiscal responsibility and smaller government while still enacting bipartisan laws, but their current leadership is neither leading nor helping the party regain its respected standing. If Republicans strive to be the Grand Old Party again, it’s time to put aside partisan politics and get to work.

Under Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky,the GOP prioritized subverting any Democratic Party success, even at the expense of the American people. McConnell voted to increase his salary seven times while repeatedly denying Americans a livable minimum wage primarily because it’s a Democratic Party effort. The result of hypocritical polarization is Trumpism, elections lost and an inability to serve Americans when filtered through the dark lens of partisanship.

In response to losing the presidency and both chambers of Congress, the Republican-proposed solution is to severely limit voting rights under the guise of preventing so-called “voter fraud,” which was repeatedly proven negligible in all states and denied in over 60 court cases after the last election. This is overt voter suppression under the pretense of fixing a non-existent problem.

Despite science and medical data, some Republicans continue to encourage followers to forego masks and social distancing even if it means infecting family and friends. Despite the fact that it might save lives, almost 50% of Republican men are hesitant to get the vaccine at the expense of our collective health and wellbeing.

Republicans voted against the current COVID-19 Relief Bill providing financial relief to individuals, cities, states and small businesses. Conversely, Trump’s taxpayer-funded COVID-19 Relief bill benefited the rich, funded horse race tracks, wineries and provided business lunch tax breaks. Not a single Republican balked at that abuse of funds but rabidly objects to helping fund city and state pandemic responsiveness.

When immigrant children were separated from their parents and placed in cages, not one Republican sounded the alarm for their safety. We continue to have an immigration crisis. The same one we’ve had for decades but the best the GOP could do is form a posse, visit the border and blame Biden in a press conference. The wall didn’t work — people showed up with ladders and ropes. Let’s work together on real, humane solutions.

The GOP had a golden opportunity to disengage from Hawley, Taylor Green, Boebert, Cruz and the rest of the ultra-right wing after the Trump inspired January attack on our nation’s capital. McConnell even stated ““loony lies and conspiracy theories are a cancer for the Republican party” — now he regularly waffles between the loonies and reality.

Compromise and collaboration are lacking in the GOP’s current DNA , which should sound the alarm for their party’s ability to survive. Republican groupthink that justifies white supremacy, voter suppression, sedition and violence in the name of Christian values is dangerous. Change is needed.

It was not a blue wave that handed Democrats the White House and both houses of Congress but it was a blue ripple that swept across America and is likely to swell if Republicans cannot come up with a better response than obstructionism and obfuscation.

Meanwhile Biden enjoys an overall 56% approval rating for providing financial relief and getting the vaccine out the door. Biden repeatedly invites everyone to the table to find bipartisan solutions to long term issues. That said, he’s also not waiting around to tackle the very real problems at hand: the pandemic, climate change, immigration, education, infrastructure, etc. He is moving forward, working for all.

Many Americans would be grateful if the GOP got its house in order, came to the table and got back to the work of serving Americans by remembering it’s not “us” and “them” – it’s we the people.

• Deborah Craig is a centrist fiscal conservative and social liberal.Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have something to say? Here’s how to submit a My Turn or letter.

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