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    Local View: In the game of party politics, Everyone loses – Duluth News Tribune

    Here’s the problem: Republicans and Democrats refuse to work together.

    Here’s the reason for the problem: party politics.

    And it’s Everyone’s fault. And if that makes you flinch, then you are Everyone.

    The lack of bipartisanship in our governing bodies and the resulting lack of progress in addressing issues that affect Everyone are so obvious and ridiculous that I risk insulting Everyone by even mentioning it. Elected officials of every stripe and those who claim to represent are too often impotent and irrelevant. Instead of insisting on finding common ground and compromise, they insist on serving a collectively abstract and introspective dogma, thereby rendering them unable to see past themselves and their party for the greater good of, well, Everyone.

    According to President Abraham Lincoln, our government is “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

    We wish.

    Our current reality is “of the parties, by the parties, for the parties.”

    Polarization and party politics do not only affect us on a federal level. The rhetoric being served to us — us vs. them, right vs. left, good vs. evil — creates polarization within communities and neighborhoods, which creates division amongst people who certainly have more in common than not. We’re trained to perceive the people around us as “other” instead of as “neighbor.”

    In Duluth, we are in the middle of a mayoral race, a race that is supposed to be nonpartisan. Both candidates are Democrats and DFLers. One is being painted as not DFL enough.

    Challenger Roger Reinert has a record in political and private sectors of working across party lines. He has said repeatedly he’s willing to work with anyone willing to work with him. The fact that the DFL is demonizing and actively working against him, a candidate who is DFL, simply because he is willing to work across party lines, tells us everything we need to know about political parties.

    The parties are not about ideology or beliefs. They are not about communities, progress, or getting things done to improve the lives of constituents. They are about retaining power and control for the party. Parties are insatiable beasts, never satisfied, singularly focused, and, make no mistake, not out for your best interest. Certainly not Everyone’s.

    Party politics spawns dirty campaign tactics like push polls and smear campaigns, not intelligent, civil discourse. Party politics preys on primal fears and emotions. Such tactics come from St. Paul and D.C., and their practitioners could care less how they affect our local community, resulting in a tone deafness that does not sit right with most Duluthians.

    We are not St. Paul, Minneapolis, or D.C. We are Duluth. We are a tight-knit community, with love and reverence for this city. Let’s not be pawns in some political agenda coming from somewhere else, with no idea what is best for Duluthians.

    This country has been ripped apart by party politics, with most Americans caught in the middle, neglected and persuaded to one side or the other with gifts, empty promises, and abstract and explicit threats — like children of a bad divorce between two selfish and irresponsible parents.

    As Americans, and as Duluthians, we deserve better. The biggest risk we take as voters is continuing down this path of hyper-partisanship and looking at one another as “other” instead of “neighbor.”

    We deserve a leader who will put the needs of Duluth and the people who live here ahead of fealty to a political party. Now is the time to come together, to look past political parties and decide what is best for Duluth, our community, and our families.

    Carli Amatuzio is a fourth-generation Duluthian with a political-science degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth.

    Carli Amatuzio

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