United We Stand

***Guest Column***

I would like to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving. Friends, rule number one this holiday is to not talk politics. The last thing you want is to have Uncle Pete and Cousin Chuck at each other’s throats with the turkey carving knife. Enjoy the holiday and enjoy the company of your family!

Before I continue my theme of addressing the results of the 2016 election, I would like to respond to a bill that many of you have contacted my office about – the serialization of handgun ammunition. I oppose the bill for three reasons: 1) Only law abiding citizens would be hurt by the law. Criminals would simply buy ammunition from other states or steal ammunition from upstanding citizens. 2) The bill would cause ammunition prices to skyrocket. 3) I believe the bill to be “crony-capitalist” in nature. One company stands to make millions from the bill, and that doesn’t sit well with me. I am not voting for the bill.

During the final stretch of the Presidential campaign the Clinton team advocated unity after the election. Many believe this is because she was convinced she was going to win in a landslide. But even after her surprise defeat, the very next day she called for unity during her concession speech. She did not mention her lead in the popular vote, but she spoke of the need to come together and wish the next President of the United States the best. With her concession speech the 2016 elections came to a close. 

Secretary Clinton deserves credit for graciously bowing out of the race and we should heed her challenge to come together as a nation in the wake of the election. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same attitude towards the results as Secretary Clinton does. There are still major protests and walkouts in our major cities, and some of these protests have turned violent.

Thinking back, I can remember the main theme of the Clinton campaign: “Stronger Together.” That certainly was a powerful rallying cry. Now, cynics might say that this was because the campaign believed their victory to be inevitable, but I’m willing to take them at their word. We truly are stronger together.

If you read the last column I wrote before the election, you might remember when I said: “When all the dust has settled and when all the votes are counted, we will all still be Americans. This election won’t change that fact.” When I wrote that, most everyone believed that Hillary Clinton would be the next President of the United States. I didn’t write that because I thought it would be a good election for my party; I wrote it because I believed that to be the appropriate attitude to move our country forward post-election.

My attitude hasn’t changed. We still need to come together because we truly are stronger together. The fear mongering needs to stop because it only serves to deepen a partisan divide that erodes the fabric of this country. There’s a difference between respectfully disagreeing on issues and saying things like “He’s not my President.” We can still disagree without the need for rioting. I don’t expect Republicans and Democrats to hold hands and sing “Kumbaya,” but is it too much to expect for all of us to tone down the fear mongering? Only then can we have civil discourse.

Marginalizing those who protest isn’t the answer either. I’ve seen those who call for participation trophies to be handed out to all of the protestors. No, that’s not how we should approach this. Let the protestors protest if they do so peacefully. We simply need to stop spreading fear and misinformation because that only feeds the protestors’ fear and loathing.

How about actually waiting for President-elect Trump to take office before casting aspersions? Spoiler alert: he will not be drowning kittens in the Potomac River.

Moving forward, a pragmatic approach is important. As President Obama said: “I think it is important for us to let him make his decisions. The American people will judge over the course of the next couple of years whether they like what they see.”

As always, you can reach me or Sally at 815/232-0774 or e-mail us at repstewart@gmail.com. You can also visit my website at www.repbrianstewart.com or on Facebook.