Partisanship-over-principle is undermining our constitutional republic and threatening the future for our children and later generations. While political partisans wrangle for power, our nation and our world suffer, with the devastating consequences of climate chaos increasing exponentially, the accumulated national debt spiraling out of control, and medical costs skyrocketing while our rates of maternal and infant mortality remain among the worst in the industrialized world.
Instead of solving serious problems and fulfilling their constitutional duties, far too many of our politicians are spending their days lobbing insults at each other and doing all they can to tear down others so they can stay in power.
The nasty, disgraceful, often vulgar partisanship in Washington pours over into divisive, unkind, destructive relationships within our families, our workplaces, and our neighborhoods.
By declaring several years ago that “My number one priority is making sure President Obama’s a one-term president,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell betrayed his highest duties to his constituents and to our nation for the sake of partisanship.
Trumpists have shown their disdain for many of our nation’s most cherished long-held values, simply to stand blindly behind a tax-cheater, wife-cheater and would-be tyrant, who sought to hold on to power through threats, lies, and a violent insurrection. Their partisan devotion to this racist goes so far that 61% to 70% of Republicans still believe Donald Trump’s big lie that the election was stolen.
As Hitler said in “Mein Kampf,” a “big lie” is a lie so colossal that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.” Goering successfully used the technique. So has Trump.
Democrats often pursue partisanship-over-principle, as when they sought to gain political points by passing several disastrous mass incarceration bills, one pushed and signed by President Bill Clinton and several others sponsored by then-Sen. Joe Biden. The support by John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Biden — all eventual Democratic presidential nominees — for the Iraq War was similarly politically driven and catastrophic. (After so much death and destruction, they all finally admitted they were wrong.)
We the people are generally fed up with the partisan bickering and party divides that prevent Congress from doing its job. Public disapproval of Congress has hit its peak, with 82% of people disapproving and 16% approving the way Congress is handling its job.
Now, the vital question is whether, given the chance, we will vote to reduce the divisiveness and unprincipled partisanship in Congress.
We already have one senator, Mitt Romney, who has made most of us extremely proud when it counted the most, bucking the tide of the Trumpists in the Republican Party and taking principled stands on several notable occasions, resulting in him being the target of Trump’s wrath.
Our other present senator, Mike Lee, has been an unaccomplished legislator and Trump critic-turned-sycophant, going so far as to compare Grab-Women-by-the-Pussy-Trump with the Book of Mormon’s hero Captain Moroni. Lee’s slavish devotion to Trump went so far that, in the words of Washington Post columnist James Downie, he “misled the country about his participation in a plot to overturn a presidential election.”
When it was clear Trump was lying about a stolen election, Lee was so craven that he texted Trump’s chief of staff, pleading, “Please tell me what I should be saying.” Lee has proven himself to be not only a partisan Trump lackey, but a traitor to our nation and our Constitution.
In Utah, we have a crucial, rather unique opportunity to reduce the partisan divide. The Democratic Party wisely decided not to nominate anyone for the U.S. Senate in the upcoming election, opting instead to join with independents and reasonable Republicans to back an outstanding non-partisan independent candidate, Evan McMullin. (He is so non-partisan that he has pledged not to caucus with either the Republicans or Democrats.)
This race now has caught the nation’s attention. According to recent polls, McMullin is within the margin of error of beating Lee. We have an opportunity to set an example about how we-the-people, together, can combat destructive partisanship.
If most of us, particularly young people, will vote for McMullin, we can come closer to achieving the cooperative, problem-solving Congress we deserve.
Ross C. “Rocky” Anderson, was mayor of Salt Lake City from 2000–2008, a 1996 Democratic candidate for Congress, the 2012 Justice Party candidate for president and is now the volunteer executive director of the Justice Movement.