What is the Biggest Need Facing Our Country?
(Photo of John Lewis and Jeff Sessions courtesy of Todd Stacy)
Alexander Ioannidis, Politics Contributor
Opinion - If someone had asked me one year ago to name the biggest issue facing our country, I would have told them without hesitation that we need to address income inequality and provide for the poor. As a former Democratic Socialist who gradually became conservative over the last year, my views have evolved all across the spectrum, but one view that has never changed is my love for my great country. I have always seen myself as blessed because I live in the greatest country on earth, and this is a sentiment that we can generally find from liberals and conservatives alike. If we all love America, should we not want what is best for it?
Today, if I am asked the same question about the biggest need for our country, I would tell you something entirely different. We need to unite. It is heartbreaking to see the levels of polarization going on throughout our country. Arizona Senior Senator and war-hero John McCain gave his colleagues some very wise advice right before the healthcare vote. He told them to “stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio and the television and the internet!” He called on the Senate to work together to craft a bipartisan solution to our healthcare crisis known as Obamacare. While McCain is often a controversial person who sometimes breaks with party lines, he could not have been more on-point with this statement.
We live in a culture where our national media oversimplifies complicated issues such as healthcare or immigration. Left-wing news networks such as CNN and MSNBC work overtime to push their left-wing viewers even more to the left. On the other hand, right wing talk show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin, correct as their views may be, they also push their viewers very far to the right and encourage them not to compromise. We are constantly divided against one another while the media continues to profit and while our country continues to weaken. This needs to end.
At this point, I may have lost the attention of many readers. To the diehard conservatives out there who are still reading this, you should know that I do agree with you. I think constitutionalists like Mike Lee, Ben Sasse, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz are great people, and the values they are fighting for are admirable. I too support a flat tax, I support a balanced budget, I oppose abortion, and I support school choice. Where I differ with conservative leaders such as Mr. Lee, Mr. Paul, and Mr. Cruz is in their refusal to compromise. Today, Republicans control the House, the Senate, and the Presidency, and yet they are struggling to get much done.
The biggest blame in this is not in the House, but in the Senate where sixty votes are needed for a lot of measures to pass. I agree with Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson when he argues for changing Senate rules to help things get done quicker, but we would not have to do this if people from both sides could compromise. Democrats have become so obsessed with resisting Trump that they will obstruct literally anything just because they want our President to fail, so they are to blame. Furthermore, when Republican Senators like Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Jerry Moran announce that they will refuse to vote to move forward on debate with the Better Care Reconciliation Act because it is not “enough of a repeal of Obamacare,” it is frustrating and rather childish. Politics is a game of compromise, and many people will not always have it their way, and Democrats and Republicans need to realize this. As Ohio Governor and former Republican Presidential Candidate John Kasich says: “Republicans get to call the tune but they need to have some Democrats singing in the choir.” Republicans and Democrats should heed the words of Mr. McCain and Mr. Kasich and work together.
Finally, it is time we all sat down and had a conversation about racial tensions. Racial tensions have always been high in our country, but over the last few weeks, they have come out of the shadow and hurt many of us. We have right-wing racist and white supremacist groups such as the KKK and Neo-Nazis who are a disgrace to our country, and on the other side, we have leftist hate groups such as Antifa who claim to be against fascism but are actually the embodiment of fascism when they silence free speech and assault anyone who disagrees with them. Both of these groups should be ashamed of themselves, and they would do the entire country a favor if they disappeared into the shadows and never bothered us again. We ought to all be taking a stand against these groups, but we also ought to seek true healing from racial wounds that have largely been swept under the rug and ignored by the right, while people on the left have continued to race-bait and keep them alive so they can keep us divided. I am trying to organize an event at my campus where we have a bonfire and invite both black and white student groups to talk about race relations. At this point, anything that gets people talking is a huge improvement over what we have. This is the first step toward true healing.
In conclusion, our country is the most divided I have ever seen it in my short lifetime and it is heartbreaking. It might be cliche to say that America is stronger when we are together, but this statement is very true. Go and find someone dear to you and tell them that you love them. Go and find a leftist who you respect and tell them that you respect their views and their love for America, even though you disagree. Go and find someone of another race and try to get to know them and their culture. We can’t control what everybody else does, but we can control what we do, and we need to be working together for the country we love. I am a strong believer in conservatism, I love capitalism, and I love the free market, but more than any of these, I love America and I hope that we can truly unite and take our country to new heights.
You can follow Alexander on Twitter: @RevIoannidis