Tom Daschle and Trent Lott – Debate should strengthen our government, not paralyze it
Politics in America has always been contentious. Our respect for the free expression and open discussion of diverse ideas is what defines our system of government and our country, and has made the United States the strongest democracy in the world. Yet as national leaders from both parties, we are alarmed by the growing trend toward a corrosive political culture of hyper-partisanship and personal rancor.
Democrats and Republicans today often seem less like respectful political opponents and more like immovable partisan enemies who question one another’s motives and even love of country. Extreme wings of both parties are gaining strength from powerful special interests, creating a deepening ideological divide that makes even routine collaboration rare. The American people have become understandably cynical about all this, and doubtful of Washington’s ability to carry out its basic work, let alone help create a more vibrant future.
The sequestration fiasco is just the latest example of Washington’s dysfunction. Both parties support targeted spending cuts; and neither party believes mindless, meat cleaver, across the board cuts make sense. Yet that’s exactly what we’re getting.