By Christine Todd Whitman
February 7, 2017

STOP IT. That’s what the American people were saying in the last election. Stop the hyper partisanship that has rendered Congress virtually stagnant. Stop the name calling and “tit for tat” approach to governing and start solving the country’s problems.

I get that the Democrats want to seek revenge for what Republicans did to Merritt Garland. It’s natural to want to let the other side know what it feels like to refuse to even hold a hearing on a person nominated for the Supreme Court. But it’s wrong, and we learned in kindergarten that two wrongs don’t make a right. Not only was what the Republicans did wrong, it was also a dereliction of their constitutional duties. The presidents proposes and the senate disposes.

This responsibility also means that, while the senate has the responsibility to question the president’s appointees, they should be examining the competency, not the ideological positions, of the nominees. Every president won the election and has the right to appoint whomever he (or hopefully someday she), wants as part of their team. Dig deep, expose their flaws, and vote against them if you must, but don’t start by saying you won’t even consider them.

What we are seeing on display in DC right now is exactly what the American people voted against, what fueled the anger of both the Trump and Bernie Sanders supporters. It’s what gave us our current president. Digging in, refusing to participate or ramming things through with questionable procedural changes, is damaging our nation.

Language shapes behavior, and “alternative facts” don’t exist save in an alternate universe. White House spokespeople going on national TV to promote things that never occurred only fires up one side or the other. Name calling results in reactions that, all too often, turn to hate, which turn to actions, which turns into violence. We’re on the precipice in this country. We need those in charge of the levers of government to get it together and start talking about the public good, not about the next election. If they don’t do that soon, they may not have to worry about it at all. The American people may just rise up and throw them all out and they may not wait two years.

Abraham Lincoln was right when he said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” Our elected officials and their appointees need to start acting like adults so that it never comes to that.