By: Kevin Maisto
To round out our simulation at The Washington Center, all students in the Examining Bipartisan Solutions seminar presented our resolutions (See our Resolution here) regarding either healthcare, immigration, or budget reform.
Our final resolution, much changed from the initial idea that we had set out with, represented our best efforts at bipartisanship and true reform. However, this doesn’t seem to be a goal that was shared by many.
This brought in a much-needed perspective regarding reform in Congress. Would you like to know the largest conclusion I gained from this experience?
WAIT WHAT. Wrong! That can’t be my opinion, especially after a week of learning all about “Bipartisan Solutions.” So, let me clarify my point a bit more.
Bipartisanship is the current buzz word of Capitol Hill. Every candidate promises to reach across the aisle. There are countless think-tanks and organizations with a primary purpose of facilitating bipartisanship. So, why doesn’t it work?
The primary concern deals with the primary issue: it is difficult to compromise and find a middle ground on stark idealogical differences. For example, same-sex marriage. There isn’t exactly the most obvious middle-ground solution to two people who feel we either should legalize or ban it. Ban it sometimes? In certain states? Got it: Let’s split the nation into the North and the South. Clearly that worked well the first time (see Civil War for more information).
All dramatics aside, it is indeed hard to find a middle ground for many issues, and that doesn’t even include the outside pressures that every member of Congress faces from constituents, parties, and lobbyists. Our resolution exercise demonstrated exactly this.
Bipartisanship is amazing in theory and it is CRUCIAL in order to make necessary changes that face our nation. However, regardless of intentions, the outcome is often difficult to reach. Unfortunately for our nation, this means that, unless we have a substantial change to our government, we cannot expect a great deal of bipartisanship in the next session.