Stephanie Karst: Enough is enough with our divided politicians

One of the most talked about issues since the 2016 election is the deep division within our country. I think this false narrative is being perpetuated by our politicians for their own gains.

Take the recent government shutdown. Democrats wanted citizenship for Dreamers; Republicans wanted more money for border security. Polls say 80-90% of Americans support granting citizenship to Dreamers, and many Americans also support increased border security. With bipartisan support for both measures, why was it impossible for our elected representatives to reach a compromise? That is, after all, how you govern.

But instead of governing, our politicians would rather sow division.

For example, Senator Marco Rubio had this to say about the shutdown: “It is terrifying to me that Democrats would rather put our nation in jeopardy than compromise.” In fact, Democrats offered Republicans funding for border security in exchange for citizenship for Dreamers. So it sounds to me like Democrats were willing to compromise. Yet Sen. Rubio would like his supporters to believe instead that Democrats are ready to harm our great nation. This is not governing. It is fear mongering.

We also saw our politicians creating leverage instead of debating true policy differences. For example, Republicans in Congress refused for months to renew funding for a very popular insurance program that provides health coverage to nearly 9 million American children just so they could use it as a bargaining chip. This is not governing, it is more akin to hostage-taking.

Politicians may preach hate and fear of the other side, but I refuse to believe I live in a hateful nation. Abraham Lincoln said a “house divided cannot stand.” I say it’s time we showed the politicians who are trying to divide us their way to the door.

This post is an expanded version of a Letter to the Editor written by Stephanie Karst which appeared in the January 20, 2018, Gainesville Sun

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