On February 6, 1858, as members of congress were debating slavery, a heated argument between a Republican and a Democrat turned into a brawl on the floor of the US House of Representatives. Republicans wanted slavery gone; Democrats wanted to keep it. Thirty-eight months later, the Civil War began. We all know what that did to our country.
In 1798, a member of congress allegedly called another member a coward, and the aggrieved member began to beat his comrade with a cane, striking him in the face at one point as he was down on the ground.
1837: A member of congress stabbed another member during a debate about wildlife. In 1902, two United States Senators traded blows about the annexation of the Philippines. Several senators were injured in the melee.
Politics in the United States have always been contentious.
In more recent times, in 1985 two members of congress got into a scuffle and one grabbed another’s tie. This was a more watered-down altercation and was mostly name-calling. It was a childish display for the world to see.
You see, politics in Washington, DC and our state legislatures around the country have always been contentious. And I think that is a good thing. Here’s why.
If our members of congress weren’t so passionate about our Republic⏤that they’d be willing to throw down, our legislatures would be nothing more than rubber stamp legislatures, like the one in Russia.
In this country, we debate passionately and articulately the laws that will affect us all, and for good reason. Laws have consequences, and the making of those laws is a very serious responsibility.
I, for one, would not want to live in a country with no national debate on the issues of the day. I believe it is extremely important for us all to have debates and disagreements. No side should ever be stronger than the other. We should debate to improve the lives of us all, and those of our children. We do not debate for the sake of winning.
To be sure, when we stop arguing about what is going on in Washington, DC, we are in a bad place. In the nations of the New Axis powers, people who disagree with the single party government in power are imprisoned. Worse, some just go missing, never to be seen again.
Good people do their own research; they do not simply believe what they are told by the media. Responsible citizens are engaged with our government at every level. Being a patriot means that you hold your elected representatives accountable by paying attention to the issues of the day and voicing your ideas and opinions to your politicians.
We should never agree on everything, as citizens in the New Axis countries are forced to do, by media manipulation and brute force. In the United States, we argue. We argue because we care. And that should never change.