Putting politics aside for the greater good

By Frank Orlich

As Americans, we  increasingly are told that we must choose between left and right. We’re forced to accept bundled values, meaning we don’t necessarily approve of everything on a politician’s platform, but they still receive our vote because we identify with their policy more than another. As a Republican, I disagree with a wide array of conventional social values established by the GOP, namely that of religious beliefs.

While I do not scorn pious people, as many Bill Maher obsessed viewers do, I believe religion has little place in political discussion. For example, I disagree with my party’s stance on abortion, church in schools and other public places, and perhaps most of all, gay marriage.

In  June, New York became the sixth  and largest, state   in  the country to legalize same-sex marriage. After the Assembly voted to approve it, the only hurdle was the Senate. Four members of the Republican majority joined all but one Democrat in approving the bill 33-29. It was an emotionally charged campaign that divided constituents as well as lawmakers.

That leads me to my point. This is not an article about religion, or the political spectrum, or even gay marriage.

It’s about a statement made by a little-know State Senator of New York named Roy McDonald. McDonald, a Republican, was being berated about his vote and support of the gay marriage bill.

He was facing pressure from anti-gay marriage groups, conservative PAC’s and religious leaders encouraging him to vote along party lines.

He responded by saying “You get to the point where you evolve in your life where everything isn’t black and white, good and bad, and you try to do the right thing. You might

New York legalized same-sex marriage in June. A pivotal question is, will the federal government eventually follow suit, or leave it up to the states to decide? (AP Photo)

not like that. You might be very cynicalabout that. Well, fuck it. I don’t care what you think. I’m trying to do the right thing. I’m tired of Republican-Democrat politics. They can take the job and shove it. I come from a blue-collar background. I’m trying to do the right thing, and that’s where I’m going with this.”

I just wished I lived in this guy’s district so I could personally vote for him.

Whether you’re for gay marriage or not, you have to love what this 64-year-old senator is saying. He’s essentially telling his party, the people that supported him, believed him, funded his campaign, and helped him get into office, “I appreciate your set of beliefs, but I have my own. This is the right thing to do, it’s what the people want, and I’m going to vote for it.” We need more politicians like McDonald. This country needs people who are less worried about crossing party lines, and more worried about figuring ways around those lines.

Because politics isn’t about conflict, leaving the negotiating table, or preserving public image. It’s about passing sensible legislation and moving in the right direction as a nation. Especially at a time when we’re $15 trillion in debt, fighting three seemingly endless wars, and watching oureconomy go into a double dip.

This nation does not need partisan politics. It needs people willingto cross party lines and compromise. Both parties are careening in opposite directions. The Republican party is becoming more conservative and the Democratic party is  becoming more liberal They’re interpreting the tides of voting one party out and the other in as support for their beliefs, rather than frustration of the previous incumbent.

If either party would realize what America wants is middle-of-the-ground, sensible acts, and rational dialogue they would seize control of both chambers of Congress and probably sweep in 2012.

When told we had to choose between left or right, Ronald Reagan said, “There is no such thing as a left or right, only an up or down.”

I say anyone, who believes in the idea of trying to do the right thing is on their way up.