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OPINION: Politicians are divided, not Americans

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., replaces his face mask after speaking at news conference after attending a Republican luncheon, Tuesday, July 21, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom. 

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s all about the rage over being a divided country. The United States is not divided; politicians are divided.

It was on this day Sept. 9, 1776, that the Continental Congress formally declared the name of the new nation to be the “United States” of America. This replaced the term “United Colonies,” which had been in general use.

Quote by Boyd Matheson (Graphic by Colby Walker KSL News Radio)

Politicians are divided

We are united on so many things. Yes, we have our differences. But this country is at its best when it is a nation of big, bold and competing ideas that are deliberated, debated and discussed. 

According to a Scott Rasmussen national survey, 31% of Americans view themselves as moderate.  Also, 36% of voters nationwide consider themselves to be politically conservative while 27% say they’re liberal. 

As a nation that has called itself the United States for 244 years, we should focus on that which unites us even amid big disagreements. 

The big disagreement of today is focused on the next round of stimulus spending.

Politics of coronavirus

The White House reportedly signed off on a $1.5 trillion price for the bill, according to Politico, which is up from the original $1 trillion proposal. The Democrats have also come down from their initial $3 trillion proposal, passed in May, to $2.2 trillion, according to cnet.com.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans on Tuesday unveiled their “skinny” coronavirus relief bill — estimated between $500 billion to $700 billion, which includes an extra $300 per week in unemployment benefits through late December, according to CNBC.

But this is where our politicians, not our country, are divided. 

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York blasted Senate Republicans’ plan to introduce a pared-down coronavirus stimulus bill  Tuesday, saying the “emaciated” bill “is headed nowhere.”

“What Senator [Mitch] McConnell put forward is fraudulent,” Pelosi said. “It’s not even an attempt to do the right thing.”

If you have a “skinny” bill, then you are doing the job you’re supposed to do, in other words, focusing on one subject at a time and centering on things related only to that particular bill.

In the previous round of stimulus funding, there was money for Jamaican rum subsidies and to help repair Talladega Speedway.

McConnell was quick to fire back at Democrats. He said they were playing “Goldilocks games” by refusing to agree to any bill until it was just right.

There are a lot of times I completely disagree with the way McConnell runs the Senate. He’s probably done worse than his predecessor, Harry Reid of Nevada. I don’t think the Senate has been run properly for decades now — and we’re reaping the whirlwind.

“It’s not a sweeping, multi-trillion dollar plan to rebuild the entire country in Republican’s image. It does not even contain every single relief policy that Republicans ourselves think would help in the short term. I am confident the Democrats would feel the same way,” McConnell said, according to NPR. “But the American people don’t need us to keep arguing over what might be perfect. They need us to actually make a law.”

Pass a bill for America

I agree with McConnell there. We need to get past what is the perfect bill and get something into law to provide relief and help to Americans. Let’s remember who the job is for.

I have been talking to a lot of people in the media throughout the country, and they are just tired. There are weary folks out there. We’re especially tired of electing people to high office who are not leading and just screaming at the divide and trying to convince us we’re too divided to deal with a spending bill.

Too divided to fix immigration or the budget or health care.

We’re not.

Our leaders and political parties are divided.

But that fatigue is a worry to me because it leads to issues that we are seeing in our communities: From anxiety and depression to suicide and a host of other ramifications driving through our homes and neighborhoods.

Sadly, we’re not going to get that fixed out of Washington, D.C., or the state Capitol. It’s going to require a lot of us to do the hard work and heavy lifting and have the uncomfortable conversations with people we love and care about. 

 

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 11:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.

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