Now, more than ever, politics have become what a man told me Thursday: tribal.
It is the “you’re either with me, or against me” thinking that has become entrenched in our democracy and society. Democrats versus Republicans.
Have’s and have not’s. Growth versus no-growth. Environmental protection and fighting climate change at all costs.
I am sure I’ve struck a few nerves with some of those, especially that last one; but, you get the point.
We see it on the national level with fewer political animals reaching across the aisle. Seemingly gone are the days when Sen. John McCain joined with Sen. Russ Feingold in the bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.
The middle ground has become less gray and murkier. Life is now black and white.
We got a glimmer of hope, however, when U.S. Sen. Martha McSally visited Prescott last week to say she was working with her Democratic colleague, Sen. Kyrten Sinema, to support efforts to build a new post office in that area.
My hope is the same cooperation, even if you call it jumping on the bandwagon, can be found more and more.
What does not help are candidates running for nonpartisan seats touting their party registration, the man on Thursday added. It gives a glimpse into their thinking, as it relates to policy making, but divides people and neighborhoods just the same.
I happens too in Phoenix at the Legislature. We have seen it in past sessions when one party votes against a bill that could help people (teachers, taxpayers, drivers, troopers, children … pick one) only because the issue fits into their agenda like a square peg in a round hole.
I say get out a chisel and trim down that peg, making it fit. The bulk of the original concept will remain. Instead, it is all-or-nothing business.
If we are to flourish as we continue down the long roads ahead, needed is even more transparency, explanation, openness and compromise. As I stated recently in this space: givers gain, takers lose. Think about it, folks.
Tim Wiederaenders is a former Lake Havasu City resident and an editor for the Prescott Daily Courier.