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Letter: Divisive nature of American politics stinks

The Detroit News

The divisive nature of every issue, the hatred that has seemed to fill the hearts of the population, and the overall shift away from reason and intellect toward platitudes and grandstanding — it all stinks.

We have a responsibility as Americans, on both sides of the aisle, to elevate the quality of conversations that we have in this country, and focus our energy on the actual merits of policy.

Our politicians have divided this nation and stoked the flames of hatred and resentment toward one another by ignoring the honest discussion of policy, and it’s time we call them out on it.

For example, Sen. Bernie Sanders recently tweeted, “If pitchers can make $324 million, we can pay every teacher in this country at least $60,000” — referring to Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole’s new contract.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a campaign stop, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, in Hillsboro, N.H.

Really, senator? Let’s actually break down your logic here to see the merits of what you’re implying. That multi-year contract would afford a salary of $60,000 for one year for 5,400 teachers; we have about 3.6 million teachers in America.

In other words, this isn’t an actual proposal of policy. It’s just grandstanding to sow the division politicians use to build their base.

Now don’t get me wrong. I have great admiration and respect for my teachers, and have teachers in my family.

I do believe we need to find ways to pay our teachers more. However, when our politicians do not have actual discussions on policy in good faith, all we get are hollow arguments like the senator’s.

These arguments do little more than divide the country, stoke resentment toward wealth and the fruits of capitalism, and get us nowhere near a real solution to an important issue. Make no mistake, there are solutions to these issues, but if we focus our arguments on being outraged at other people’s success, then all we will do is hasten our demise as a nation.

It is time that we take on this responsibility to not just hold our leaders accountable, but also hold ourselves accountable. And we should commit to elevating the conversations we have in this country to a respectful debate on the merits of policy, and let the platitudes fall by the wayside.

Michael Banerian, former vice chairman

Michigan Republican Party