Perils of Partisanship

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[NB: I wrote this letter to the editor about ten days ago and sent it to the Spokesman-Review. They contacted me, seeking permission to publish it, but it hasn’t appeared yet. So, I’m sharing here. If it appears on the newspaper’s website, I’ll link it.]

In her recent appearance on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers pleaded for unity. It is a common call. President Bush pledged to be a “uniter, not a divider,” and President Obama followed suit. The bipartisan public is weary of the deeply divided, dysfunctional political system.

Despite rhetorical calls for coming together, Republicans are exhibiting a tone-deaf response. Oklahoma Representative Tom Cole, in the breathlessness of a sycophant, has said of Trump, “It’s like being actually led into the Promised Land by Moses.” The president must not be made into a religious prophet in a secular government. Texas Representative Lamar Smith has suggested “the only way to get the unvarnished truth” is to get it from the president. The president must not, in a free society, be made into an oracle of truth. Even McMorris Rodgers routinely refers to our “unified Republican government.” Our government must not be made into a one-party state.

Overcoming divisions–McMorris Rodgers’ putative goal, at least on MLK Day–does not happen this way. To solve real problems and to make the political system work, the GOP must stop walking in lockstep before we are made to start marching in blind obeisance.

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