I generally try to stay away from writing about politics. But today, I heard some news that was the straw that broke the camel's back. I wrote a post earlier this year about the polarization I see occurring in all different avenues in the USA. This evening, it came to my attention via the news that should the democrats and republicans not be able to reach a compromise, the federal government may simply "shutdown." Now, I understand that this would be temporary, but the fact that such a drastic measure could happen is devastating. So, for the first time in my life, I wrote a letter to the South Dakota Senator, John Thune. (Actually, in high school I had to write to a senator, but that was for a grade in American Government class) Here then, is that letter:
Dear Senator Thune,
I know that you most likely get hoards of letters daily, and regarding the upcoming spending bill, which has gained much press as of late, I’m sure you’ve already heard countless opinions. However, I am not writing to you pleading for your vote one way or another regarding the upcoming spending bill. Generally, I’m fine with your decision either way, so long as something gets done. Honestly, you’re one of the few politicians I have any real respect for these days anyway, whether I agree with your policies or not. What I am writing about is the result of the potential “shutdown” of the federal government that may occur simply because those we’ve chosen to speak for us refuse to find common ground. I understand that an outcome of this magnitude is certainly a last resort, but should it occur, it will only serve as further degradation of the citizens of the United States. We, the hard working American people have entrusted you (collectively, in Washington) to govern us fairly. We should not be made to suffer the consequences which result from those who claim to represent us fighting like spoiled school children. Yet, this is precisely the effect of such unbalanced polarization I continue to see in Washington.
Political polarization is destroying the nation. I implore you, please, to remember and remind your colleagues that before anyone in Washington is Democrat or Republican, they are first fellow human beings and fellow citizens of the United States of America. These battle lines that both parties continue to draw MUST be erased. America has become a fraying rope, with both parties pulling so strongly on opposite sides, that it is only a matter of time before the fibers give way, the rope snaps, and everyone is lying face down in the mud.
I consider it a great privilege that I live in a country where I can write our leaders letters in which I can openly and freely express my opinions without fear of threat. I am thankful that currently, I am allowed to send this letter, whether it will be read by you directly or not. I know that no matter what happens in Washington, there are millions around the globe who are dying simply for crying out for the right to speak their mind. However, if we as Americans continue to segregate ourselves (following our leaders’ examples), I fear our fate may be no different.
Thank you for your time. I’ll be in Washington in April. It would be fantastic to grab some coffee, sort some stuff out, and together plead our case for keeping these States of America United.