This year, our country celebrated its independence at a time of extreme political polarization, in a climate where bipartisan agreement is perceived as a weakness and moderation is the enemy.
It is true that every presidential election year lends itself to hyper-partisanship, where every word and every action seeks to reinforce one candidate and have an adverse effect on his rival. But this year, things are different-and worse.
Far from accomplishing its mission to achieve a more conciliatory atmosphere in Washington, Barack Obama’s administration had to face a recalcitrant opposition in Congress that blocked the White House’s initiatives from his first day in office.
At the same time, a growing part of the Republican base became radicalized under the flag of the Tea Party, which launched a war against lawmakers who were not conservative enough.
Within this universe, the word negotiation came to mean treason, reconciliation is a weakness and intransigence is the virtue of affirming principles.
The result has been a legislative standstill that hurts the country, making it hard to emerge from a tough economic crisis. Inaction and blocking became valid tools to pursue political rewards, even if all of society is harmed in the process.
This is not the democracy that in tough times overcame internal differences to be able to tackle challenges.
This is a perfect time to remember that throughout its history, this nation had strong confrontations between candidates during campaigns; clashes that basically vanished after the election. We hope to be able to return to that democratic tradition.