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Letter: Abandon hyper-partisanship for the sake of democracy

One of the chief drivers of these bold moves by authoritarians is the inability of the democratic process to produce results.

Letter to the editor FSA

The invasion of Ukraine is the most blatant example of naked aggression by a non-democratic regime since World War II. It highlights that the enemies of democracy are recently emboldened. Neither the United States nor her allies are seen as a deterrent to the forces of autocracy around the world.

One of the chief drivers of these bold moves by authoritarians is the inability of the democratic process to produce results. Namely, these regimes tell their people that our democratic systems have broken down and that we can no longer accomplish anything. Across the world’s democracies, political partisanship has devolved into tribalism and runs rampant through our political processes – our leaders are more inclined to score points over the other party than to govern. The false belief that politics is a zero-sum game where, for North Dakota to win, California must lose is both dangerous and misguided.

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are emboldened by our political strife. They point to the West’s ineffectual leadership and inability to find common ground as justification for their authoritarian tendencies. Most disturbingly, this same sentiment is growing among my countrymen. On the left, there are voices which push for mandated societal reorganization most easily enacted by a government which has jettisoned many of the freedoms that Americans hold dear. On the right, a desire for a strongman leader who can punish those Americans who have strayed from the values and norms which were common in a glorious past that never really existed. Both extremes lead to a nation that controls what people say, think and do.

With partisan gamesmanship pulling us further and further apart from our fellow citizens, the true victors are the authoritarians. When we decide that the enemy lives across the street, we cannot combat those assailing freedom abroad. In Ukraine, they’re fighting authoritarianism with guns, sweat and blood. In the United States, we must fight it by recognizing that we are all in this together. Finding compromise is not the same as being compromised. Abandoning hyper-partisanship will once again allow the principles of democracy to shine light on those billions who are lost in the darkness.

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