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AS I SEE IT

Posted 2/12/20 (Wed)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, after the impeachment vote of President Donald Trump and his subsequent State of Union address, you have to admit that there has probably been no other time in recent history that this country was so politically divided.
Democrats have been calling for Trump’s removal from office as this nation’s president as soon as the election was over. And that animosity toward Trump ultimately led the U.S. House of Representatives, voting on party lines, to impeach him on the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
But as was no surprise by either party, the U.S. Senate, again pretty much voted on party lines, acquitted Trump of those two charges by votes of 52-48 and 53-47, respectively, which was far short of the two-thirds majority needed to remove him from office. The only senator to break from party lines was Republican Mitt Romney of Utah, who voted that Trump was guilty of abuse of power, but not on the charges of obstruction of Congress.
The whole impeachment process consumed not only politics in Washington, D.C., but the nation as well.
And how damaged our nation’s political system was and the contempt that some Republican and Democratic leaders hold for each other was only further demonstrated during President Trump’s State of the Union address.
It was pretty clear that it was going to be a contentious evening as many Democrats announced that they would not be attending the address. It didn’t help things get off to a good start when President Trump seemingly declining to shake the hand of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi following his introduction to the members of Congress. But the most obvious political statement, which was not spoken, but demonstrated live before the American public, was when Pelosi was seen tearing up the president’s speech after he delivered it.
Maybe one could excuse Trump for not shaking the hands of either Pelosi or Vice President Mike Pence as simply being an oversight on his part. But Pelosi’s anger and resentment toward Trump, which was clearly visible throughout the address, truly showed the contempt and scorn she holds for the person elected to the highest office in the United States.
Politics has always played a major part of the State of the Union address as it affords the president the opportunity to champion what has been done, as well as lay the groundwork for future programs. Members of the president’s party are always seen standing and applauding, while the opposition party usually can be seen sitting stone-faced to what is being said. That’s just politics.
It has become fairly obvious to everyone that America is clearly divided politically.
But how does the country move forward? Or, probably a bigger question is, can it move forward?
Can members of Congress, regardless of their political persuasion come together for the good of the country? Can they enact laws that make our borders safe and provide affordable healthcare to American citizens? Can they come together to create budgets that all Americans can afford to pay for?
The American people must be able to look to our elected leaders to be just - leaders. They need to lead by example even when they would prefer to do otherwise. What Americans want, and need, are politicians who act like leaders and demonstrate that they have the ability to work together to solve common problems, not a bunch of school-aged children who haven’t learned how to work with people.
If our leaders in Washington can’t work with each other civilly, neither will the American public. And our nation will only become more divided.