Opinion: Look to the people instead of the party

It’s not the two-party system that is broken. There are opportunities, but instead of looking to the party, look to the people. Ideology will continue to evolve, and no political party can say they have all the answers. Without accountability, the framework will continue to be picked apart instead of realizing that some things cannot be anticipated and were never addressed.

People certainly can make politics challenging. Often the quick response is, “I do not focus on politics.”

The challenge is they are constantly focused on you. More now than ever, our Legislature is heavily focused on what divides us versus what is needed for all to thrive. What people do behind their closed doors and under their covers is not a government issue. We must stop electing people that want to focus on righteousness versus equity.

“Adapt or die” is that statement that rings so true as we charge towards our next legislative session and election. We can stop with the elected officials posing with their neighbor’s guns game. It’s Idaho. I’m not sure I know a Democrat in this state that does not own guns or at least appreciates why Idahoans would have them. No one wants to take them away. Many Democrats would like our tradition of responsible ownership to hold and the pageantry to go away.

What about our cherished Idaho National Laboratory? Who is working to fight for the amazing minds that continue to put Idaho on the map for technology breakthroughs? More importantly, who is considering the jobs and contributions to our local economy? The recent tax credit awarded was never mentioned, and our GOP Legislatures voted it down and then took full credit. It’s not the party that’s broken. It’s the people. There was a time when all party members had the character to represent all citizens in their state, not just those that agreed with them.

A representative republic implies that our Constitution considers and supports all social and political affairs. The framework was created based on current times and technology. We need legislators that can give it the grace and appreciation it deserves while making decisions that fit what is in front of us today. We should accept that some of those decisions may have to change in just a few years as things constantly change and evolve. If we do not focus on equity and supporting the freedom of all, democracy will surely fail. A representative republic was not true when it was created and certainly is not true today; it is a hybrid, and it will remain that way.

It’s not a party problem. It is a people problem. With the pause before us, take inventory of what your elected officials do. We should elect people that spend their efforts picking everyone up in their community. Their responsibility is to represent us all and make our community better. As a state and community, we need to do a better job of holding them accountable.

Daniel Barker is a leadership consultant and the vice chair of the Bonneville County Democratic Central Committee.