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Norfolk/Wrentham - Local Town Pages

Guest Column

Building Bridges

By G. Gregory Tooker

In a recent speech, President Biden underscored the urgent need to repair and strengthen the nation’s infrastructure, especially our crumbling bridges. Already some have collapsed, with deadly consequences.  Designing and constructing a sturdy, durable bridge is no small task but it is child’s play when compared with what it will take to effectively span the widening gap between our political parties.

The dialogue between the fringe elements of the Republican and Democrat parties becomes more heated with each salvo fired. Bipartisanship is becoming a mythical concept these days as one side continuously plots to hamstring the other, the result being little if any progress on the multitude of issues plaguing our country. Who will step forward with the creative blueprint that will unite and save our democracy?

Your writer believes the time has come for a third, centrist political party to be formed. The percentage of undeclared/independent members of the electorate exceeds avowed members of each existing party. Our culture is becoming more diverse with every passing decade. European political systems allow for multiple parties in many countries. The United States needs to move in that direction if we are to achieve meaningful progress in meeting our challenges.

The Republican party contains many members of Congress who are not inclined to side with those who favor a more autocratic form of government. Presently, they are in the proverbial position of being out to sea without a paddle, forced to be blown by the more radical winds in a direction that does not necessarily represent their true beliefs. Occasionally, we witness some consensus between these moderate Republicans and the more practical-minded Democrats on the other side of the aisle, but this doesn’t occur frequently enough to make a real difference.

Many will say it is pie-in-the-sky thinking to imagine more than two parties in American politics. The present system, however, is clearly not working and while our duly elected representatives stand immobile staring each other down, our country spins its wheels in a pandemic-facilitated quagmire.  Pragmatic, creative minds, unencumbered by political dogmatism, are the vehicle toward meaningful progress.