Abraham Lincoln once said that this was “a government of the people, by the people, for the people,” however, in recent times, the truth behind this ideal seems to have faded. What began two and a half centuries ago as a place where dreams could be fulfilled and the rights and needs of the individual could be satisfied has turned into a democracy where the voice of the public is drowned out by the petty arguments of our leaders.
As throughout much of history, we are currently living in a tense political climate. This tension is felt by political representatives and, more importantly, by the people who elected them. It seems as though the political differences of the officials are more relevant than the problems of the people. Facing an economic recession, an environmental crisis, and a deteriorating educational system, There are issues and recent situations which need to be addressed in order to ensure a strong future.
The shooting in Tucson, Arizona was an event that shook the nation; the injuries endured and the lives lost remind us of this tragedy, but what is more tragic is the fact that it took a social threat of this caliber to shake our representatives. It called into question gun control policies and the state of mental health care in America, reminding politicians that there are issues to address besides winning seats or ensuring votes for the election two years from now. It took the death of nine people and the injuries of 11 others, including a congresswoman, for both Democrats and Republicans to recognize and address their irresponsible behavior.
The most obvious example of this irresponsibility is the angry rhetoric which has been filtering from the floor of Congress. In what was once a mature democracy, politicians are now referring to their colleagues and opponents as “enemies.” The rhetoric from both parties is then amplified by a refusal to cooperate or communicate; they remaining stubborn and argumentative.
The congressional meetings of the recent past have been nothing if not unproductive. Both parties have separate ideas about what bills should be passed, understandably, but the disagreements have escalated to the point where no decisions can be made, due to an inability to compromise.
The drama over President Obama’s health care plan provides a perfect example of this issue. Dissatisfied with the tax bill, Republicans refused to deal with health concerns or any other proposals until it was changed to suit their ideas. There are more pressing issues that politicians need to address, such as unemployment and foreclosures.
This is not a question of red vs. blue politics; it is a matter of political morale and the responsibility of the government to address national issues in a mature way.
Enough of the slander, enough of the inability to reason, enough of this divided country, it is the demands of the people which need to be met, not the political egos of our elected officials.