Opinion: A reality check — we need to change

We need candidates that won’t shy away from the difficult topics in an effort to earn large donations, gain endorsements or make people a bit uncomfortable. There’s a lot going on right now, and we should be uncomfortable. Bullying marginalized communities and losing our rights should feel uncomfortable, and we should be willing to talk about it.

It’s disappointing that a focus on those who need us most — and those that have the least access to the American dream — are considered divisive. I’m not afraid to talk about immigration, women’s rights, the working poor, health care, LGBTQ rights, the opioid crisis, housing, food insecurity and other issues that affect our daily lives. We need more leaders less concerned about mean names the far-right extremists will call us and more representatives ready to tell it like it is and engage in difficult conversations.

We need to change. As politicians, as civil servants and as voters, we need to start focusing on the needs of people. We need to lift the people who have been ignored while chasing bipartisan “compromise.” It is pointless to seek compromise with those who don’t negotiate in good faith. It is pointless to continually appease extremists who represent, at most, 24% of the population and who aren’t interested in progress and equity. What good is coddling extremists if it abandons the people we claim to represent?

Does bipartisan compromise help the DACA recipient sleep better at night knowing that their status in this country might be traded tomorrow for a tax cut?

Does bipartisan compromise make the decision between life-saving medication or rent easier for the millions of diabetics in this country such as myself?

Does bipartisan compromise console the senior citizen who recently learned that transportation to their doctor’s appointments is no longer covered by their Medicare plan?

And will bipartisan compromise comfort the desperate woman staring at a cold, metal coat hanger?

Some would say, “We have to give to get.” That we must “conquer the divide, not the other side.” I say we have given enough. We gave on the Affordable Care Act, on tax cuts for the rich and numerous other policies throughout the last 30 years. We’ve only received hollow, empty promises for our efforts. In fact, after we’ve given these bad-faith actors what they want, most of them vote against us anyway. If we had stood firm, how much further along would we be as a country and as a people? The deficit has been significantly reduced since President Biden took office, even with COVID relief. We’ve made some steps as a party to offer reprieve to those in need, and the result has been to, once again, show that we are already the party of fiscal responsibility.

It’s time to stop sending the same people back to “represent” us. They are more interested in lining their own pockets while they pay court to the extremist fringe, leaving the rest of us to try and make a living from the scraps.

David Roth is a member of the Bonneville County Democratic Central Committee and a candidate for U.S. Senate.