Bipartisanship in Crisis

Barack Obama(Photo Credit: The Daily Beast)

We’re currently situated in a political milieu where Democrats and Republicans are more focused on the next election than on meeting the real needs of the American people.  Many Democrats and Republicans find it more important to advance their political careers than to improve education, pass legislation that will help to create jobs for the unemployed, extend affordable healthcare to the uninsured, and etc.  Of course, there are legitimate times when Democrats and Republicans must stand for their core principles and values and be unwilling to sacrifice those principles and values, but this shouldn’t be the case on nearly every critical issue important to their constituents.  The majority of Americans elected politicians to do things that are going to ameliorate their lives; they didn’t elect them to fuss and fight each day.

Too many people are experiencing abject poverty for Democrats and Republicans to become complacent with their bickering.  It’s time for them to deliver positive results for the people who elected them.  When you’re not sure where your next meal is going to come from, you don’t really care if the Republicans are going to take the Senate in 2014 or will Hillary Clinton run for President in 2016; you simply want your elected leaders to improve your life.

The American people must increase the intensity of their demands for their elected leaders to move beyond simple partisanship and pass legislation that’s going to make America a better place to live and work.

What happened to the national discourse about jobs?  Why aren’t we having a national discourse about jobs anymore? 

While the scandals going on in Washington, D.C. are essential to investigate and discuss, Democrats and Republicans must make the economy, specifically job creation, their top priority.  People who are unemployed deserve to have a Congress and President seriously concerned about getting them a job.  Finding some bipartisan solutions to creating jobs does not have to be an overly partisan undertaking. 

Most Americans have some level of sympathy for the poor.  Poor people, however, need more than sympathy—they need meaningful voices in Washington, D.C. representing their interests.  Unfortunately, poor people don’t have the resources to lobby members of Congress.  This is where clear thinking and decent Americans, both Democrats and Republicans, can come together to place pressure on their elected officials to make the poor a priority.  America has a moral responsibility to ensure the poor are well-served.

We have an opportunity to force our elected officials to embrace bipartisanship: vote those out who aren’t willing to reach across the political aisle to enact legislation that enhances the lives of all Americans—not just the lives of the well-to-do and well-connected.  Many Democrats and Republicans are guilty of catering to the well-to-do and well-connected.  The American people have the power to throw these types of politicians out of office—just vote them out!  When we use our voting power as true political power, we can command the change we long to see.

Bipartisanship does not have to be in crisis.  We can use our voting power as our chief political power to demand that it always be valued.  Too many politicians in Washington, D.C. aren’t concentrating on governing.  Governing requires compromise.  The midterm elections are coming in 2014.  This presents the first real opportunity to communicate vociferously that we want a Congress that works for us.  Let’s elect people who hear us and who genuinely believe we matter.  We, the American people, hold the future of bipartisanship in our hands.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison         

Same-day Voter Registration

Black People Voting

I contend that allowing voters to register and vote on the same day as election day in all states will have a significant impact on improving voter turnout. For those of us who have moved from state to state, it should be a little less burdensome to register to vote than some states make it for us to do. I very much appreciate the same-day voter registration that is available in the state of Wisconsin. If we want more people to participate in the political process and vote, then we need to make it much easier for them to be able to participate and vote. Of course, we will need to make sure that the people are legal residents of the state and meet all other voter eligibility requirements, but we need to make sure that we make registering to vote much easier.

I would like to see us experiment with online voter registration. We should not be so fearful of illegal people being able to vote that we make it more complex for truly eligible voters to register.

I was happy to see the great enthusiasm that the people in the state of Wisconsin and across the nation showed in the 2010 midterm election today. I was also glad to see many people participating in early voting and using absentee ballots. Exercising your right to vote is such an important thing. Don’t let anyone tell you that your vote does not count. Don’t listen to any silly talk from people who say that voting is not an important act because it is.

Once we go and cast our votes, we cannot simply stop there. We must hold the politicians accountable for making sure that they do what they said they were going to do, and we must make sure that they always do what’s in our best interest—not in their own best interest. Never take for granted the free and fair elections that we have in America, because not all countries get to enjoy the great freedom we get to exercise when we vote. I appreciate everyone who went out and exercised his or her right to vote in the 2010 midterm election. May God bless you and may He continue to bless the United States of America!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison