Divided they stand, United we…. or How the DACA meeting showed us what could have been if common ground had been taken seriously and what we as citizens need to do about it.

One of our core beliefs is that, given the opportunity and a supporting environment, leaders with strongly held opposite views can and will work together to make tangible progress on important issues.

On January 9, 2018 the President and bipartisan group of 25 members of Congress met to work together on formulating an immigration bill that all could live with. With cameras rolling, different participants demonstrated a give-and-take spirit and a desire to make real progress that we have not seen for a while and certainly did not expect. It was a notable data point in support of our aforementioned core belief.

Unfortunately, the events of subsequent days have at best dimmed if not erased the ray of hope that emerged. As we write this post, the public’s attention has shifted from the real possibility of a bipartisan agreement to the outrage caused by the President’s reported response to a follow-up immigration bill proposal submitted to him by a bipartisan group of six senators.

We condemn and find no excuse for the statements attributed to the President.  However, our hope is that, as a nation and as individuals, we do not discard the possibilities of progress raised by the January 8 meeting in an angry rage against the offensive, thoughtless comments reported thereafter. Regardless of your individual views about this issue or the comments, the January 8 meeting provided a glimpse of what is possible when political leaders sit down together, listen to one another and work to find common ground.

We need to build on what happened in that meeting. As citizens, let us ask our elected officials to follow the high minded, good faith efforts we saw in it and seek to consistently work with their peers in this manner on all issues, not just the easy ones. As voters, let us reward those who make efforts to find solutions by giving our support and votes to candidates we believe will work most to find common ground without sacrificing core principles, even if the candidates are not members of the party to which we belong.

Regardless of the aftermath, the January 8 meeting proved that elected leaders, working in a spirit of collaboration and common ground on important issues can find agreement. Let’s act and vote for individuals who’s will to follow that lead and consistently work in that spirit.