Must halt dysfunction

Our nation once again is approaching a financial crisis because of Congress' inability to pass a budget. This will impact defense, social programs, foreign policy and many other critical government functions. There certainly is disagreement between the two parties about how and how much money should be spent, but a bigger divide is the insane attempt to link budgetary agreements to partisan nonbudgetary issues such as immigration or foreign policy.

Many observers have noted that the slide toward dysfunction and polarization started when legislators stopped living in D.C. and rather began flying in at the latest possible moment and leaving at the earliest possible time, in many cases Monday morning to Wednesday afternoon. Not a lot of time to get business done. This has led to many legislators not knowing even members of their own party let alone members of the opposing party. This inevitably leads to an us-versus-them mentality. No wonder compromise is an obscene word in Washington.

Several years ago I read an interesting book, "The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats into Americans" by Mickey Edwards, a former Republican congressman from Oklahoma. He makes the point that it's much harder to hate someone when you see them socially and your wife and children know each other. It may or may not be feasible to move families, but there are other measures we could try. As Mr. Edwards suggests, why do the parties sit in blocs on opposite sides of the chamber and, in the case of the House, even use different microphones? What would happen if seating were assigned randomly so Democrats and Republicans alternated? Imagine the possibilities if an ultraconservative Republican from Texas sat next to a progressive Democrat from California. They might find that they shared a number of things in common. There is plenty of opportunity for the parties to caucus outside their respective chambers.

We have to step outside the box and find new ways to do things or we are inexorably headed into a death spiral as a republic.


Little Rock

Appeasing the far left

It is appalling that Chuck Schumer made a speech in front of the Senate calling for Israel to vote Benjamin Netanyahu out of office. Israel is a sovereign nation and an important ally of our country. We need to stay out of their government!

Israel has a right and an obligation to protect its citizens from the terrorist Hamas organization, just like we did when we went after al-Qaida after 9/11.

It seems Democrats are abandoning Israel and siding with terrorists. Schumer's action is a prime example that many politicians will sell their souls to win an election. Schumer is wanting to appease the far left in his party and win the Muslim vote in Michigan. It's maddening!


Little Rock

Surely they'll pay up

It seems Donald Trump can't come up with the money to pay the bond to appeal his fraud conviction. Maybe he should get Mexico to pay it!



Nothing but cowards

Congressional Republicans could have fixed the border problem recently, and probably could have fixed it when Donald Trump was in office.

They are cowards; they won't help Ukraine and won't stand up to Trump. Cowards.

I am a strong independent.


North Little Rock

Wonderful memories

Growing up in central Arkansas, I was raised by a father that loved hunting quail. Watching in awe as he would come home after a hunt in all his hunting regalia, I would give him a big hug as I inhaled the warm smells emanating from that jacket with all the pockets!

Reading Rex Nelson's column "My trip to Bountiful" in last Sunday's Democrat-Gazette brought back wonderful memories of those times. It was our tradition to host Christmas Eve dinner at our restaurant in Beebe with extended family feasting on fried quail dinner, creamed potatoes, pan gravy and blackberry spice cake.

Thank you, Rex, for so poignantly expressing the sentiments we feel as our state works to bring back our beloved bobwhite. I have one of our state license plates that has the bobwhite on it; my grandson says, "We are the bird car."


Bella Vista

Public schools at risk

Our public school system was painstakingly constructed starting in the 1800s by Horace Mann. By the 1950s, Republican President Dwight Eisenhower and a Democratic Congress built thousands of gleaming new public schools across the nation.

As a grandmother who had two children who attended public schools, I despaired as I watched our schools being sabotaged over the years. Our public schools are the best chance we have for democracy in this country, and the LEARNS Act could be their death knell.



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