Making progress, together.

During the democratic primaries and debates, nominees frequently claimed there was more common ground between Americans than we might think. Now President Joe Biden, with senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, made claims that there was plenty of common ground between these two different Americas, despite the fact that the parties themselves are far apart in their policy positions.  

I was skeptical that this was accurate. The two different Americas presented by both parties are starkly different, and it is difficult to find where the extremists begin and what normal people actually believe. 

Then, on Nov. 3, Florida was confirmed as a victory for former President Trump and simultaneously voted to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. An idea that was considered radical by many just a few short years ago may not only be the new federal standard in the years to come, but was enacted by the will of the people in a state that went red in the 2020 Presidential Election.  

What started as a protest outside of a McDonald’s in New York City in 2012, which was promoted by Senator Sanders in his race for President in 2016, moved the needle for the issue in the minds of voters.  

Although the gears of progress may be slow in the United States, they don’t ever stop completely. When these gears move rapidly it is with the unanimous will of the voters, not an agreement between political parties.  

As citizens we must award cooperation in our government. For too long elected officials have only been scrutinized for reaching across the aisle, and we reward partisan hacks who are incapable of getting anything done. We are rewarding the wrong behavior in Washington.

Most all Americans are looking for the same things – higher wages, better healthcare, lower drug costs, affordable education, the regulation of major tech companies and to put an end to the pandemic. Our representatives should not only work together on these things but enthusiastically support something the vast majority of Americans are asking for. 

It is yet to be seen how the new administration and Republicans in Congress will behave with one another, and how effectively the Democrats can maintain their slim majority in the senate. But if the opposition cannot cooperate with a President as moderate as Joe Biden, then each party will simply rule unchecked on a rotating basis.  

The United States needs a well functioning conservative party to check their progressive counterparts. The keywords are well functioning. If Republicans in Congress are as interested in legislating as they were obstructing during the Obama administration, we will see a government that is efficient and working toward common goals. 

Tyler Spence can be contacted at [email protected].