May 11, 2023

Not a Dime’s Worth of Difference

There is increasingly not a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties when it comes to doing what is best for the nation.

When he ran for president a second time in 1968 on the American Independent Party ticket, Alabama Governor George Wallace said, “There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the Democrat and Republican parties.”

Granted that Wallace, who had been a Democrat, was attempting to attract votes for that nascent party, but his statement may have found new life in Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, a former Democrat and now an Independent.

Appearing last Sunday on “Face the Nation”, Sinema referenced the final speech her predecessor, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) gave on the Senate floor in 2018 in which he lamented the partisanship that has overtaken Congress: “…he said that folks were more interested in ensuring that the other party lost or prevented the other party from getting a win. And then they were no longer focused on the much more inspiring and more meaningful work of bringing people together, people of good faith to actually solve problems and improve lives of the people that we serve in our country.”

We have heard that lament before, but actually working together requires agreement on what the problems are and a willingness to actually solve them instead of bludgeoning members of the other party.

Sinema went a step further in explaining the extreme partisanship: “They’ve moved away from that center of working together and finding that common ground and they’re going towards the fringes because that’s where the money is, and that’s where the attention is, and that’s where the likes on Twitter are, and that’s where you get the clicks and the accolades. And there’s an incentive to continue to say things that are not true and not accurate.”

Asked why she didn’t switch to the Republican Party from the Democratic Party, Sinema laughed and said, “you don’t go from one broken party to another.”

Her solution is a familiar one that needs more adherents. Again referring to McCain’s final Senate speech, she said: “ …he spoke about the importance of getting rid of the uninspiring activities you see now of partisanship and restoring the inspiring activity of working together.”

So how do we fix this in our country? It’s not that difficult. “It’s all of us choosing to behave with that same level of dignity, of respect for each other of honor, refusing to do that uninspiring activity of just trying to prevent the other from a win, and instead focusing on what can we do to bring our country together and demonstrate that we’re serving them.”

With Title 42 expiring Thursday, which is expected to bring in a new wave of migrants, Sinema blames not only the Biden administration for failing to come up with a plan, but also both political parties: “both parties have benefited for decades by not solving this challenge.”

Perhaps that’s why the fastest growing voter group is independents, though they usually end up voting for one party or the other on Election Day.

It’s going to take more than one senator to make the case that our system of elections and government are broken. Returning to the guardrails provided in the Constitution would solve a lot of problems, but barring that unlikely occurrence, it is up to “We the people” to make changes by voting for candidates who are committed to actually addressing and solving the growing number of problems that confront us.

Otherwise, George Wallace will be seen as a prophet because there is increasingly not a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties when it comes to doing what is best for the nation.

©2023 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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