I wish to respond to Rep. Doug Lamborn’s Feb. 3, guest opinion titled “Why the U.S. Needs Border Security.” I agree with Lamborn that the U.S. must have border security. No nation can last that does not control the circumstances by which new immigrants enter its country. However, Lamborn misstates the facts when he suggests that the congressional Democrats do not want border security.
The facts are that Democrats in Congress have consistently pushed for border security. In fact, they have introduced a number of bills (with bipartisan support) to fund the government, which also have included billions for border security. The Democrats have supported all the varied tools available to ensure border security that our Homeland Security experts have stated are essential, including extra patrol manpower, more use of drones, enhanced technology tools, as well as reinforcement of existing physical walls.
The real concern, however, is the danger to America of using the “shut-down tool.” The refusal to fund the federal government that is used by one political group or another as leverage to extract consent to a specific piece of legislation is only destructive. The recent record-setting government shutdown caused billions of dollars of loss to the American economy (only some of which will be recouped).
More importantly, it caused 800,000 government employees (50,000 in Colorado) to go without pay, causing major hardship to families. We should never again tolerate our American economy and federal workers being held hostage and used as leverage to extract approval of specific legislation. The precedent this sets will bring our government and economy to a standstill.
The shutdown tool is a result of the partisan bickering we are observing in Washington. Over the years, both parties have at various times resorted to this destructive technique in an effort to extract a partisan political objective. There is sufficient blame to go around.
However, to state, as Lamborn did, that the congressional Democrats place personal differences with the president “ ....over and above securing our border and paying our federal workers” merely feeds this “beast” of polarization that keeps American from realizing its great potential.
As a lifelong Republican, I would hope all of us as Americans, including members of my Republican party, would look at ourselves in the mirror and ask if we are willing to rely on facts, and reason (in a spirit of civility), to resolve issues or are we instead feeding the “beast” of polarization and engaging in an “Us vs. Them” mentality. We should expect our elected officials to be “statesmen” and “stateswomen” and not mere partisans in performing their duties as trusted leaders. However, each of us as citizens has an equal responsibility to be informed and to eschew this “beast.”
I believe Lamborn antagonizes this polarizing “beast” when he attempts to demonize the congressional Democrats. I would hope that he, all elected leaders, and we as citizens would continue to strive to respond to the better angels within each of us. Our country’s motto as inscribed on our coins and historically in the U.S. seal is: “E Pluribus Unum” “Out of Many One.” Let’s be one nation.
Mike McDivitt owns one of the largest personal injury law firms in Colorado.