A Congress of Hope or a Congress Divided
Recently, since the new Congress has taken their seats, there has been some bipartisanship efforts that have come forward mostly from the Senate, even on some major issues, such as immigration reform and gun control, that shows great promise for America.
As far as gun control, a group of senators, both Republican and Democrat are working on legislation for background checks. Tom Coburn (OK) — from my own state — is one of the Republican senators in the group. Recently he told USA Today:
“I believe the mentally ill should never be able to get a gun, I believe criminals should never be able to get a gun. There’s nothing wrong with updating what we’re doing to try to make that more effective.”
There is also a group of senators working on an immigration reform bill, including Republican Senators John McCain (AZ), Marco Rubio (FL) Lindsay Graham (SC) and Jeff Flake (AZ); and Democrat Senators Richard Durbin (IL), Charles Schumer (NY), Robert Menendez (NJ) and Michael Bennet (CO).
We must remember though, nothing has landed on the president’s desk yet and the House of Representatives — who have been more or less noncommittal — very well could throw cold water on anything thrown their way .
Once these issues — gun control and immigration specifically — reach the House, we will begin to see more clearly, where this country is going at least for another two years. In addition, it will tell us just how much of a grip the Tea Party caucus still has on this body of legislators.
American voters are watching and a great majority of them want a congress that will work together to solve our problems. Our country stands waiting, needing strong and courageous leaders who are willing to lay down their differences and find common ground that will spare this nation a crisis.
The Republican leadership in Washington must realize that this continued criticizing of the president will backfire on them. Voters in 2014 and again in 2016 will lower their numbers even more, if they do not get their party more in line with the true values of American voters. Those values are about things like equality, fair treatment and fair wages, which include Hispanics, Gays and African-Americans. Also, do not forget the folks who would like to see fewer guns in the hands of violent mentally ill people, and to no longer see their children mowed down by military assault rifles.
Perhaps there is some hope but only half the story has been told here and I am waiting for the final scene. House Republicans hold all the keys, now it is up to them to either lead or listen to the voices from the far extremes of their party to the right.
Some of the more thoughtful of the Republican Party have warned the party of its direction. Those wise men and women realize that the Hispanic population is growing and most likely, will continue to grow, taking even a larger chunk of the electorate.
Political strategist Karl Rove in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal said this about Republicans and the Hispanic community:
“The major impediment is the harsh rhetoric of some Republicans regarding immigration. The solution is less about policy than about respect for the Hispanic community.”
So far, the general view of Republicans on immigration have been to stop the border crossings by increasing security or building higher fences, and no citizenship to those who come here illegally or anything that even smells of amnesty.
The Republican Party needs to change and need to sign on to reasonable, comprehensive immigration reform. Many of its state governors and legislators also need to stop passing laws that give law enforcement the right to harass those they deem to be illegal and other anti-immigration measures that are viewed by many Hispanics as racial profiling and specifically targets anyone who looks Latino.
The Republican Party has a chance here to move in a different direction. There are still many people in this country with conservative views and most of those views are reasonable, even if I personally disagree with most of them. What is important here is that the GOP needs to re-brand itself again and show itself for conservative principles but also for reasonable politics.
So far, — at least to this writer — the Republican Party has been unreasonable to say the least. With a focus on defeating Obama for a second term, it lost its own direction and that was to focus on what Americans wanted them to focus on; jobs.
I heard many complaints, even from people like U.S. House Speaker John Boehner about the president’s failure to produce jobs. Yet, can anyone show me any piece of legislation that the former 112th Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives worked on, and voted on that was directly connected to providing jobs for the millions out of work during its entire session?
This Congress has a chance to show America a new Congress, one that sees the needs of average Americans as well as their wealthy contributors. It has a chance to join us on the road to the future, which leads to enlightenment, equality and fairness for all and most importantly, prosperity for all. On the other hand, it can continue down that same road which leads nowhere but lower poll numbers. That is, until another party rises to take its place.