Divided government can be productive government if both sides of the political arena are committed to that end.

Government controlled by one party can be productive in the view of both sides, if the party in control is open to considering the other side’s opinions and concerns.

Regarding the latter, look at it in terms of contract negotiations that unions and management navigate in bargaining.

It often is said that the best contract is one in which neither side is totally happy. That acknowledged, it is reasonable to suggest that the best legislation is one on which both sides have had input and have had to compromise.

While many Democrats reasonably contend that such a productive process has not been in play under U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republicans’ self-proclaimed “Grim Reaper” in ensuring that Democrats’ proposals died on his desk, hopefully that attitude will not spill over to the new Congress that will be in control, along with soon-to-be-President Joe Biden.

Hopefully last week’s despicable situation at the Capitol has awakened members of Congress to the need for more cooperation from both sides of the aisle. Even the most ardent supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump need to understand and acknowledge that this country cannot move forward with the kind of hatred and rebellion in Washington witnessed by nations and people around the world.

Other nations can rightfully ask how America can push the “democracy concept” around the world when that concept isn’t really secure within its own borders.

On that note, it is accurate to say that what happened Jan. 6 was presaged last year when a group of protesters-turned-thugs rioted in Michigan, while some even were planning to kidnap that state’s governor and subject her to what might have been a deadly “trial.”

Had law enforcement not been able to get the Washington riot under control as quickly as was accomplished – although even that was much too slow – the toll might have been much worse to Capitol facilities and in terms of injuries and fatalities.

It has been said numerous times since that dark day that what happened must not be repeated. Going forward, the vitriol on display on Wednesday can be remedied at least in part by a newfound energy geared toward mutual respect and willingness to acknowledge that the opinions of the other side of the legislative aisle are important too.

Obstruction for the sake of obstruction is no asset for the country. As for this “new” Congress, there are many important issues that need to be addressed while the events, fears and distress of Jan. 6 remain firmly planted in lawmakers’ minds.

There never will be total harmony in the nation’s Capital on major issues, going forward, just like there hasn’t been up to now. There would be cause for suspicion if too much harmony were prevailing.

Disagreement can be productive; what occurred last week was not. There are two or more sides to every issue, and that is no secret to people who have any inkling of how government is supposed to work and how collective bargaining works. Anyone who wants to change Washington needs to rely on the power of the ballot box and accept the results whether their side has won or not, rather than engage in criminal conduct to try to change results.

Considering the events of the last dozen years, Jan. 6 provided a badly needed wake-up call on behalf of national unity.

Republicans and Democrats have a responsibility to take that message seriously.

— Altoona Mirror

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