In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican and presidential nominee Mitt Romney surrogate, attracted attention recently for his remarks that praised President Barack Obama and the federal government for their prompt disaster relief efforts.
Even though Christie’s comments come just days before the election, it shouldn’t seem like a shock in the midst of a disaster that politicians can ignore party lines for the sake of helping people in need.
The political climate has been so polarizing that praising a politician of the opposing party, even in such extreme circumstances, feels out of place. That doesn’t bode well for the American people.
Ultimately, it presents a major problem that faces this country’s political system when it’s no longer OK to praise, compromise or work with an opponent for leadership’s sake.
Arguably one of the biggest problems within the federal government in recent years has been Congress’s inability to work together to solve
the problems that face America.
The idea that compromise equals surrender
has propagated itself into politics, most notably when Congress faced the prospect of raising the debt ceiling last year. While both parties eventually agreed on a plan, the damage was done as the country’s credit rating was lowered, with Standard and Poor citing the political conflict as a factor.
Congress’ inability to act in the face of the government’s inability to pay its bills represented a monumental failure of both parties. Congress members chose to play into a standoff against their opponents at the country’s expense instead of working together to avert a national crisis.
They need to remember that their top priority is serving the entire American population, not just those affiliated with their party.
Whoever is elected president, regardless of his plan on the country’s improvement, will be stonewalled if Congress prefers a petty tug-of- war over cooperation.
During the Obama presidency, we have seen the rise of uncompromising figures like Richard Mourdock, the Republican Indiana state senator candidate, who believes compromise means Democrats agreeing with
In a Romney presidency, we may see
Democrats who will refuse to compromise on important issues with Romney or other Republicans. As voters, it’s our job to make sure we don’t elect people who aren’t willing to reach across the aisle. It’s unacceptable and doesn’t representleadership.
Christie’s actions helped show it can be politically expedient to transcend party lines in favor of the greater good. Although he campaigned for Romney before the storm, Christie showed that his loyalties are ultimately vested with his constituents.
Politicians have begun to believe it is a weakness to work with their opponents, but Christie demonstrated that working with the other side can make for a more effective politician.
Politicial leadership doesn’t mean doing what’s best for one’s party. It means doing what’s best for the country. If we elected more politicians to Congress that exemplified this quality, the country would be in a much better state.
There’s more at stake in this election than just who wins the presidency. Keep this in mind when voting.
senior from Lincolnshire studying journalism