A little context: forty years ago I registered as independent/no party affiliation. I have remained so ever since. I vote policy and conscience, not party. But clearly I lean more toward the policies of the Democrats. My thoughts below are not about that leaning, but about the much bigger issue presented by the current divisiveness in the country.
If there is a change of leadership/control in the House of Representatives this fall, I don’t know what will happen, but I know what should – and could – happen. And no, it may not be what you are thinking I have in mind.
Control of the House and Senate flip all the time. And the party in charge then tries to move their policies forward, block the efforts of the other party, and claim they want bipartisanship but rarely get it because of animosity and intense partisanship. The current House and Senate tones have almost without exception followed the style of Trump: bash the other side, claim bad intent by the other side, lock out the other side. Far worse than any time when I have been alive, it is full-out war – not for ideological reasons, but because it is now the Trump party and that is how he rolls. Fearful of his retribution or actually supportive of his approach, the party in charge will not push back and will instead copy his rhetoric and attach approach.
So if the Democrats take back the House, they should do the same, right? Start impeachment proceedings, block everything the Republicans try to do, bash them mercilessly and ignore the truth. Fair is fair, yes? When the dog that has bitten your hand suddenly is in the weaker position, you should bite its paw, right?
Here’s what the Democrats should do if they win control of at least the House: shake the hands of the Republicans. Tell them there are policy disagreements but we must work together to move the country forward. Yes, legislation more consistent with the Democratic platform will be introduced and passed, but it will include voices from the Republicans, it will include concessions from the Democrats, it will be as bipartisan as possible.
Why is this the right thing to do? Because it IS the right thing to do. No revenge, no retribution, no tit-for-tat. The Republican Party is in shambles, it has become the Trump party. But we need a strong (at least) two-party system and the Democrats can both win the battle and help the country win the war by helping rebuild the true Republican Party. Shake the hand/paw, don’t bite. Make us all proud, including those who are no longer here to see it – and yes, in the days after his death, I am thinking of John McCain, who represented exactly this approach.