The Ills of Partisanship
Some Republicans reached new lows in questioning the authenticity of Hillary Clinton's illness.
On the last day of 2012, news broke that Secretary of State and former First Lady, Hillary Clinton was admitted to the hospital with a blood clot related to an earlier concussion. No sooner did those reports come out than some Republicans were calling into question the validity and seriousness of her condition. That questioning of her authenticity in and of itself is a type of sickness.
At a time when many Americans wondered if the country would fall off the fiscal cliff, or if the majority of Americans could keep what little money and dignity they had left, some legislators were shifting their attention to someone else’s illness with disregard and disrespect. All the while, these legislators were ignoring their own sickness, perhaps trying to make believe it doesn’t exist. It is never okay to call into question whether someone is authentically sick, especially when she is lying in a hospital at a time when she’d rather be home spending time with family.
But what’s worse than questioning someone’s sickness is knowing something is wrong and not treating it. Recognizing that someone is not well and shrugging it off as something that will heal itself is problematic -- like ignoring an aching tooth or a bad leg. Soon people are walking with a limp, they need a cane and, before they realize it, the doctor is telling them they need surgery. Not treating the disorder has been a persistent problem that this country has faced over the last few years. I'm talking about the sickness of extreme ideological partisanship that has prevented our country from prospering. It's not getting better. If we ignore it and pretend that it will get better on its own, it will be to all of our detriment.
The 112th Congress was called the “do-nothing” Congress. A new survey found that a phrase Americans no longer want to hear is “kick the can down the road.” These two symptoms are part of the larger sickness. When the Senate's use of filibusters increases exponentially, when the number of bills passed decreases significantly and when people on Main Street and Your Street are still just trying to get back up from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, there is a problem with our system.
We have seen legislators say that they will do whatever it takes to see the president fail, not realizing that as a nation, we stand together and we fall together. So while the intent was to make the president’s approval record sink to abysmal levels and limit him to one term, Congress’s approval rating was in the tank. There is a sickness in seeing your country trying to get back on its feet, and because you disagree about whether it should be the right hand or the left that pushes the body up, you just decide to stay down.
There is a new opportunity for the 113th Congress to survive the illness that infects leaders and turns them against their own people, the same people who voted them in. We have to encourage our leaders to see that partisanship is only healthy for the party, not the people. If they continue to think that they will get their way and the other party will bend to their wills, they will be out of office. We know where the wound is and we know how to fix it. Now all we have to do is make sure it heals.