A House Divided

To celebrate the Fourth of July and all that the United States has stood for since it adopted the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the Queens Tribune invited a Democratic city councilman—Danny Dromm—and a Republican campaign operative—James McClelland—to discuss the hyper-partisanship that has overtaken Washington, D.C., and the country at large.

Both Dromm and McClelland agreed that the divide that exists between the two parties has gotten so wide that leaders from both parties often refuse to work with the other side and make compromises, while voters from both sides of the aisle frequently demonize each other.

Although Democrats and Republicans disagree these days on most issues—everything from healthcare to environmental regulations—Dromm and McClelland surprisingly both said that they thought the issue that could bring the two parties together is immigration. And considering that the United States is a nation of immigrants that has long welcomed people from across the world who flee oppression or pursue their dreams on our shores, we hope that this nation can continue to retain its image as a beacon of hope.

Both Dromm and McClelland pointed out that New York City is unique in that Democrats and Republicans in the five boroughs have long worked relatively well together. And they gave some good advice on how not only the nation’s political leaders, but also its voters, can work together.

For starters, Americans should talk to each other, not at each other. Avoid name-calling and understand that compromise is an important tool in getting things done. Rather than spend your time criticizing others on social media, volunteer for a political campaign or a Democratic or Republican club to institute the change that you seek. Disagree with your opponents’ views, but don’t assume that you understand their motives. Obtain news from reputable sources and keep in mind that commentators often tell you what you want to hear and that their words frequently lean more heavily on opinion than fact.

Also, put yourself in the shoes of someone who has had it harder than you and consider that his/her impassioned political stances might be a result of his/her having more at stake than you do. And when it comes time to vote, do it—regardless of whether or not either of the candidates excites you or agrees with you about everything.

As Dromm and McClelland rightly agreed, everything is currently at stake in our country. A functioning democracy doesn’t require that both sides of the political aisle agree on everything, but it does require that they work together. The Queens Tribune would like to thank both of our guests for sitting down with the paper’s staff, and may their civil discussion act as an example for the nation’s political figures and their constituents.

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