Left, Right Or Are We Lost?
With no middle ground, the opinions of most Americans are ignored
President Joe Biden called for unity in his inaugural address. Many interpreted this as a commitment to bipartisanship. But what exactly is bipartisanship?
Does it mean legislation that both parties support? Or legislation that includes ideas from both parties, regardless of who ends up voting for it? And does one’s party really matter when it comes to whether an idea is a good one or not?
Good ideas are not intrinsically “left” or “right.” They are rooted in common sense. Thomas Jefferson said, “I can never fear that things will go far wrong where common sense has fair play.” Ralph Waldo Emerson commented that “nothing astonishes people so much as common sense and plain dealing.”
And I think that is the romance, so to speak – or the attraction – of bipartisanship for so many. From December, a Politco poll revealed that nearly 70% of Trump voters and 76% of Biden voters say that the best leaders “reach across the aisle to make compromises.”
Even 50% of Trump voters say congressional Republicans should seek compromises and work with the new administration.
Despite this and Biden’s clarion call for unity in his inauguration speech, Biden has sought anything but unity, issuing more executive orders in his first week in office than any of his 45 predecessors. Even the New York Times penned an editorial with the headline, “Ease Up on the Executive Actions, Joe,” and admonishing Biden by saying these many executive orders are a “flawed substitute for legislation.”
The American people know this, too. But this helps explain why an ABC News and Ipsos poll from late last month found only 22% of Americans “have a great deal of confidence” in the president’s ability to make progress on unifying the country over his term in office.
But coming together – working together – implies that we have a common goal to achieve. And sometimes we do (or have, at least).
For example, in the 1950s and 1960s, Republicans voted in favor of the Civil Rights Act at a much higher rate than Democrats. Still, there was bipartisan support to end segregation in public places and make employment discrimination illegal.
In 1983, Democrat House Speaker Tip O’Neill, Republican Senator Bob Dole and Democrat Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan worked together on a compromise to save Social Security and ensure its solvency (at least, for the next 75 years).
More recently, the CARES Act passed both houses of Congress with nearly unanimous bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Trump last year.
But how do you work together – across the aisle – when there are so few common (and often diametrically opposed) goals being pursued by the party leaders? For example, the Democrats in Congress favor open borders and the elimination of ICE and Homeland Security, even though this will only increase cartel violence, drugs and other forms of illegal human trafficking into our country. 76% of Americans oppose open borders, yet Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez says only Nazis oppose open borders.
The Democrat Party supports infanticide, opposing any medical care for babies born alive after abortion, even though 94% of Americans oppose such. They seek to eliminate the 2nd Amendment, even though a solid majority of the U.S. public believes the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution guarantees Americans’ rights to own guns.
Democrats support exporting jobs overseas and increasing higher unemployment here at home. Just look at their opposition to the Keystone pipeline and the moratorium on drilling for oil – hundreds of thousands of jobs at stake – not to mention weakening our national security and raising the cost of every gallon of gasoline for working Americans.
Democrats support higher taxes, even though this results in less federal tax revenue. In fact, Biden will raise taxes on 80 percent of Americans, cut annual income by $6,500 per household, and we’ll soon be on our way from collecting the highest federal tax receipts to the lowest.
Democrats support government-run health care, reducing the military, eliminating the electoral college, packing the U.S. Supreme Court with additional justices, and are silent to the silencing of those with whom they disagree through social media.
You see, the goals of the Democrat Party are not just different from Republicans across the aisle; they are not representative of the American people across the country.
Members of Congress used to understand that “conservative” and “liberal” were just labels and that governing was more important. These days, being labeled one way makes you part of the ruling elite, while the other makes you “the enemy within.”
So much for unity – or governing – at all.
Louis R. Avallone is a Shreveport businessman, attorney and author of “Bright Spots, Big Country, What Makes America Great.” He is also a former aide to U.S. Representative Jim McCrery and editor of The Caddo Republican. His columns have appeared regularly in 318 Forum since 2007. Follow him on Facebook, on Twitter @louisravallone or by e-mail at email@example.com, and on American Ground Radio at 101.7FM and 710 AM, weeknights from 6 - 7 p.m., and streaming live on keelnews.com.