An Elephantine Solution to Partisan Politics

I’m sick of the political bickering and I don’t want to take it anymore.

I’m sick of both sides.

I’m sick of those who believe the 2016 election was a mandate for conservative bullying. I braced myself for that in the post-election world, and while I have received more than a few of those emails, it hasn’t been nearly as bad as I thought it would be. But I’m still sick of it.

I am also sick of the unrealistic demands of the left and the increasingly belligerent attitudes taken in haranguing for those demands.

On both sides, deep-seated political bias make proponents see political bias where they want to, even when there is not a whiff of it. It almost seems paranoiac.

It’s been a loud and unproductive time. Lots of treading water and splashing in the pool. Much commotion but very little forward motion.

Increasingly, I’ve wondered to myself, isn’t it time we all just got along with advancing the human race? It seems we have all the tools but are too clumsy or backwards to wield them to our advantage.

What if we abandoned those phony partisan divisions?

I thought about this during and after the 1st District Assembly candidate forum last fall between incumbent Rep. Joel Kitchens, a Republican seeking his second term, and Kewaunee County farmer and clean water activist Lynn Utesch, running as a Democrat.

Both good guys, both committed to making this place a better place to live. They just happen to live in a time when they cannot work together, when we must pit two dedicated, engaged people in our community against each other in a partisan political contest.

Every two years.

Or there was the recent county meeting dealing with an important issue to this peninsula. Rep. Kitchens was there. He has been instrumental in getting the state to rewrite statutes on the issue for this area, something Door County has wanted from the state legislature for decades, according to statements from several county officials speaking at the meeting.

At the end of the meeting, a county supervisor quite innocently began extolling the virtues of having Kitchens in the legislature, until two people in the audience objected, saying it sounded like a paid political advertisement. The supervisor, who thought he was doing a good thing by pointing out that the area’s current legislator is having an impact in Madison, was instead rebuked by Democrats in the audience. While they were right to call the supervisor on his unintended political endorsement during a public meeting, I know the supervisor wondered what he had done wrong because he was thinking, “Hey, finally, someone is doing something for us,” but the Democrats heard, “I’m going to heap praise on our Republican legislator.”

After exhausting my brain trying to think of ways this ludicrous form of partisan politics could be changed for the better, I thought it’s not likely that I will ever see a systemic change so perhaps I should aim smaller – working to change statutes so the offices of sheriff, district attorney, judge and attorney general are no longer partisan political positions. They never should have been. It just does not make sense for people in those positions to be beholden to a party.

But that change, too, would be a Sisyphean struggle, and I don’t do those any more.

And then it hit me. How about a Give Up Movement?

It’s simple. One side just gives up.

OK. You are right. We’re coming over to your side and we’re all Republicans now. One great big Republican land mass.

I only say Republicans because they seem to be in the majority right now, but the beauty of this idea is that it really doesn’t matter which party it is. We all just crowd onto that one big ark and hope it doesn’t sink.

So, we are all Republicans now. That would be a party of truly elephantine proportions, everyone pulling for the common good of a better life for fellow Republicans.

And here is the kicker – we are as diverse as it gets. Married, single, divorced, straight, gay, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, atheist, conservative, liberal, a veritable rainbow of colors – one for all and all for one.

Goodbye dissent! Hello progress!

OK. Who wants to give up first?