Sometimes our country’s divided political nature and unyielding attachment to political identity feel like the foundation of America’s democratic system. These nasty political traits have always been a part of our democracy, but recently they feel more prevalent than ever.
Given recent events, it’s become clear that these traits are likely more widespread than ever before, and certainly more than they should be.
As a recent college graduate, I worry that my generation will be tasked with the formidable job of pulling together a shattered democracy. As a Utahn, I worry about the actions of everyone in the political world, but especially those of my representative in Congress, Chris Stewart.
I am frustrated with the lack of accountability that I see in our government today. In Congress I watch our elected leaders preach bipartisan compromise and then, without blinking, blindly support their parties’ initiatives, right or wrong, moral or immoral, objective or subjective.
I don’t take issue with the fact that my representative is conservative, religious, or Republican. Roughly 60% of the district is Republican. Gerrymandering aside, it feels fair.
What I do take issue with is the fact that Stewart seems to have done very little in the way of actual compromise or action. I want to know what he is doing (along with all of Utah’s elected officials, including Mayor Erin Mendenhall) to actually address the growing partisan divide in our country and our state?
I watch Stewart preach the value in political civility and compromise, only to vote along party lines 93% of the time. While this doesn’t outwardly look open minded or bipartisan to me, I am willing to chalk it up to strong convictions (or maybe a lack of them). But hearing his statements about unifying America, and then watching him vote to overturn a democratic presidential election makes it hard for me to believe that our representative really does believe in compromise, civility or bipartisanship.
Stewart, along with all of Congress, knew that multiple federal election security agencies issued a joint statement describing this election as “the most secure in American history.” They knew that this statement affirmed that there was “no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised”. And they knew that the Trump campaign had filed 60 lawsuits seeking to challenge the results of the November election, losing all but one.
If our representatives have legitimate reason to believe the federal agencies who released this statement were wrong, I would listen with open ears. If they have a reason to believe that the judges who (essentially) unanimously threw out the Trump administrations lawsuits were misguided, I would love to know why.
Strong political beliefs (from either party) don’t bother me, but blind political beliefs do. As a young man and a strong believer in the power of America and American ideals, I want to do everything I can to ensure our country’s success. Our current congressman is a military veteran and current elected official, and I believe he wants those things, too.
To any elected official or constituent who reads this piece, I hope you will consider the point that I’m trying to make. The real silent majority isn’t made up of extremists on either side of the aisle, but is made up of decent people who value civility, integrity, compassion and grit.
I’m not writing this to target any person or any group, but to bring attention to the dangerous divide that is growing in our country and how little I feel our leaders are doing about it.
John Carr, Salt Lake City, is a 2020 graduate of Westminster College, where he studied finance and political science.