Taking the Political High Road
I noted an anniversary a few days ago that relatively few people would remember. It was on August 9, 1974 that Richard Nixon resigned as president of the United States as a result of the Watergate scandal.
That scandal was a tumultuous moment for our country. A president had been accused of breaking the law—obstructing justice by attempting to cover up a crime. A recording of conversation in the Oval Office uncovered that he had, indeed, broken the law. After a two year investigation by the press, the Senate Watergate Committee, and the House Judiciary Committee, (and a Supreme Court decision), President Nixon finally resigned. President Gerald Ford was correct when he said at his inauguration that day that "our long national nightmare is finally over."
This anniversary reminded me how fragile our political system really is. In the case of Watergate, we survived because the president at that time honored the system by resigning rather than fighting to stay in office. Sometimes we wonder if we would be so lucky if a similar event happened today!
That is why the added stress of intense political polarization is potentially damaging to our political system. When people cannot find common ground but unfriend each other because others express contrasting political views, when politicians engage in name-calling rather than talk to one another (and their supporters pick up that same habit), and some people develop real hate for others who vote differently, our political system's fragility becomes a real concern for me.
That is why our party is needed more than ever at this difficult time. We do not name-call. We do not hate. We do not refuse to talk to others who differ with us.
That doesn't mean we don't take positions on issues. That doesn't mean we won't stand up for what we believe. That doesn't mean we don't hold government leaders accountable and point out problems when we see them.
But we do it in a respectful way. We say some action or idea is wrong. However, we do not engage in ad hominem attacks that demean our target, but also demean us.
Please let your friends and neighbors know that there is a new party in town—and the people in it are not joining the partisan polarization all around them. And they can help build this party so it becomes an alternative for people all around our state—and perhaps eventually our nation.
—Richard Davis, Chair