The physical infrastructure bill was finally signed into law after months of negotiations and compromise between liberals, moderates and conservatives from both sides of the aisle in Congress. Democrats and Republicans came together. In a rare bipartisan showing, some 19 Republican senators and 13 GOP House members voted to pass the bill. That is exactly the way our democracy is supposed to function. Individual members of Congress didn’t get everything they wanted for their constituents and they were able to reduce the cost of the bill substantially. These members of Congress actually feel they were elected to represent their constituents first and their parties second.
Those same GOP congressmembers received death threats after their vote, because they supported the Democratic bill to invest in America. Their party punished some of these congressmembers by relieving them of their committee assignments. Who should a congressmember represent first—the people who elected them or the party they belong to? It took a lot of guts for these Republicans to vote for this bill, knowing it would rile the party bosses—bosses who control committee assignments, campaign funding and many aspects of a congressmember’s life in Washington.
Former President Trump endorsed infrastructure spending during his campaign in 2016 but he and congress failed to introduce a bill to fund any infrastructure reconstruction during his term. Trump has said Republicans who voted for the bill “should be ashamed of themselves for helping the Democrats.” The infrastructure bill will improve life and travel for Americans, Democrats and Republicans alike.
The divide between the parties continues to widen and our government becomes more and more dysfunctional. Abraham Lincoln once said “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Analysts and historians today say we are witnessing the demise of our democracy. The insurrection of January 6 was, I believe, to be the first crack in the face of our democracy. The mob wanted to lynch Vice President Pence for not overturning the election. Amazingly the party now has no interest in learning who orchestrated the riot and the lynching party. U.S. News and World Report, in its annual report on global democracy, quoted the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance noting that for the first-time the institute listed America as a “backsliding democracy” like Hungary and India.
During the past 20 years a lot of us during a presidential election voted for the lesser of two evils and a lot of us voted for the candidate who spent the most money to package and sell themselves to us. For the sake of our grandkids, I hope one of our parties nominates a candidate who possess intelligence, innovation and integrity in 2024. A leader who can reverse the direction this democracy is moving, someone we can vote for and not against.
Throughout history many civilizations, through their culture and technology, led the world as the world power of their day. Historically these societies lasted less than 200 years, if not overrun by invaders. Eventually they crumbled from within, not from a lack of intellect or innovations and technology, but a lack of integrity in their leaders. Will history repeat itself?