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Party poopers not welcome

As a proud independent voter, I remain convinced the single biggest obstacle we face as a nation is partisan politics.

Every few years, we elect people to go to Washington to do our work. We hire 435 House of Representatives members and 100 senators whom we employ, and pay them with our tax dollars, to carry out the important business of the federal government.

But something strange happens on the way to their office.

After they are done campaigning, shaking hands, and making promises they often know they can’t keep, the votes are counted, victory speeches are made, and they head off to Washington. We hope they leave home with good intentions and do what they said they would do and shepherd our country down a sensible path within the constitutional constraints and rules that govern the process.

Upon arrival, they begin to caucus with like-party members behind closed doors as they plot out their political warfare against the other party.

While that means absolutely nothing to me, it means everything to those who have ambitions of serving for decades. If they fall in line and obey their party leaders, they are awarded with superior committee assignments and reelection donations.

Again, that means nothing to me.

It is at this time, when they emerge from their caucuses, a good many of them should be given the official title of Party Poopers.

You all know what a party pooper is: someone who spoils the good times. But the truth is, “pooped” was originally a nautical term used by seamen when, “feeling overwhelmed after unexpected strong waves crashed the ship and washed them over.”

Over time, “party poopers” evolved into someone who exhausts and drains the life out of an event. And isn’t that what extreme partisanship is doing to not only our government but society as well?

A couple of examples surfaced in the past few weeks.

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina, is the only black Republican senator. After giving the response speech following President Joe Biden’s State of the Union, he has been called about every derogatory name in the book. Why? Because he is black Republican, and, therefore, doesn’t fall into the proper slot as deemed by the Democrats. One Texas Democratic leader, Lamar County Democratic Leader Gary O’Conner, called Sen. Scott an Oreo. Is this what we expect from our leaders?

Another unfolding situation is that surrounding U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming and currently the third-highest-ranking Republican in the House. Her fellow Republicans are taking aim at her for saying the Biden victory was not stolen and that Donald Trump has some responsibility for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. So Trump did what he often does and resorts to third-grade name-calling tactics, referring to Cheney as a “big-shot warmonger” and that Wyoming people never liked her, anyway. Is that what we expect from our leaders?

Meanwhile, with the Democrats in control of the Senate, House, and the White House, they are growing government at nearly unprecedented rate, and, although Biden talks a good game about uniting people, he also says he will forge ahead without Republican considerations if he has too.

Wasn’t Biden elected to serve all Americans? And is that we expect from our leaders?

Placing party work over that of the people’s work, using executive orders to bypass proper legislation, and disregarding the constitutional constraints I mentioned earlier is not the way to unite a country so deeply divided.

Sure, when we elect people to govern, we give them power, but not unlimited power.

This is America, of the people, by the people and for the people, not the party, and definitely not solely to the federal government.

The 10th Amendment says that in very few words: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Folks, if we want to continue placing party politics, which has mired the ability of Congress in a deep and muddy trench of political warfare, over the real work of the federal government, then we can expect the division of this country to continue to expand.

If, on the other hand, we the people, who are out here in the real trenches, going to work every day, trying to raise and support our families while fiscally supporting those we hire in Washington, then we deserve the respect and dignity, honesty, and commitment to America from all our leaders, regardless of the party poopers standing in the way.

The real power and future of the country lies in our hands, and, the sooner Washington understands that, there will be better days ahead.

And I believe that day will come, when the name calling will stop, when leaders will work together for the enrichment of America, when we judge not only our leaders, but all Americans on character and performance, not color or party.

I hope I live long enough to see that day.

What do you think? Please let me know.

Greg Awtry is the former publisher of the Scottsbluff (Neb.) Star-Herald and Nebraska’s York News-Times. He is now retired and living in Hubbard Lake. Greg can be contacted at gregawtry@awtry.com.

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