The phone video footage of Sen. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaManchin lays down demands for child tax credit: report Buttigieg says delay in climate action will cost lives amid reports of Manchin roadblock Virginia race looms as dark cloud over Biden's agenda MORE (D-Ariz.) being followed into a restroom and verbally harassed was disturbing to anyone who believes in the American tradition of free and open, reasonable debate without intimidation. The lack of serious revulsion and condemnation of this behavior by the senator’s Democratic Party colleagues, or even President BidenJoe BidenManchin lays down demands for child tax credit: report Abrams targets Black churchgoers during campaign stops for McAuliffe in Virginia Pentagon, State Department square off on Afghanistan accountability MORE, reflects the ruthless “win at all costs” environment of our governmental bodies, also reflected in the tacit support for extreme urban violence over the past year.
As usual, most of the American media followed suit with little or no condemnation of the tactics of intimidation, nor was there any serious examination of the reasons behind Sinema’s reluctance to fully support the party’s proposed massive spending programs.
This pattern has become so common, and upsetting to many, that I began musing about what I might do under these circumstances if I were Kyrsten Sinema. Here’s one thing I’d do:
“Dear Mr. President, Senator Schumer, Speaker Pelosi:
“We’ve reached such a sad point in our country, in our public debate and policymaking, and in our uncivilized personal behavior toward each other that I feel compelled to respond openly and strongly.
“After the most unreasonable, and now intimidating, tactics have been allowed and even endorsed against me personally, I have made several decisions.
“First, I can no longer be a part of any party or group that suppresses constructive discussion of some of the largest and most impactful (possibly good, probably bad) legislation in a generation. I am leaving the Democratic Party and will become an independent today. I cannot bring myself to join the Republican Party, because they also have been supportive of excessive, wasteful government spending and because they seem on the verge of bringing back Donald TrumpDonald TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' MORE as their standard-bearer.
“I honestly don’t care if I lose committee assignments, decent office space, or the other bribes that accompany those who mindlessly vote lockstep and robotically repeat the party talking points, virtually verbatim.
“I understand that I will be wildly and inaccurately criticized (and perhaps even threatened) in the media and on social networks. That is the price we must all face in today’s world in breaking with the party line.
“Many will say that I am sacrificing my ‘political career.’ As opposed to many of my colleagues, I do not see elected public service as a ‘career,’ nor have I sought it as what has been shown to be a highly effective strategy to get power and become rich.
“My second decision is that I will vote against the ‘infrastructure’ bill, the ‘Build Back Better’ legislation, and raising the debt ceiling. All of these programs will massively raise the public debt of America, indenture the future of our children, ruin our economy, and handicap our national defense. The funds will not dramatically improve our infrastructure — they will be frittered away with incompetence and corruption. They will not help the poor — we already spend trillions of dollars on social justice and safety nets and these new schemes will not really do much more to help our citizens who need a strong economy and real, private sector jobs.
“I also cannot, any longer, support the ‘open border’ policy of the party. The accompanying lawlessness, drugs, COVID-19 infections and other diseases, and destructive impact on our jobs market is corrosive to the country — and is most devastating to our poorest communities. I come from a border state and can see the devastation that comes from the current policies.
“I will commit to fighting the enormous corruption that has seeped deeply into our system — such as pharmaceutical companies that fund our medical schools and teach doctors to push drugs rather than good health; processed food companies that have convinced Americans they are eating ‘food’ and not products that are creating an epidemic of cancer, stroke and diabetes in the country; teachers unions that try to usurp parents’ rights to raise and teach their children values; and a defense establishment that often appears political, weak and incompetent.
“So, where will I go from here? I make this decision entirely alone, and strictly to create my own safe space where I can discuss issues reasonably, put forward what I feel are effective solutions that serve the America I sought to represent, and am not in servitude to ham-fisted party authoritarianism. If there are other members of the House or Senate who feel as I do — my friend, colleague and role model, Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinManchin lays down demands for child tax credit: report Democrats want to bolster working women, but face tortuous choices Buttigieg says delay in climate action will cost lives amid reports of Manchin roadblock MORE (D-W.Va.) comes to mind — and feel they need to better represent the values and views of their constituents, and who are alarmed by the undemocratic and uncivil direction we have been heading, I welcome them to join me. Perhaps at some point we might gain enough support to form a party that reflects the values of America and supports reasonable discussion, negotiation and traditional democratic values of fairness, lawfulness, and civility.
(Not) Kyrsten Sinema
United States Senator"
Admittedly, I don’t know Sen. Sinema at all. The above letter springs purely from my imagination and frustration with current American politics. Although, like other members of Congress, her campaign has taken large amounts of money from special interests, she has been a tough and reasonable independent in her demeanor and policy choices. And, she has shifted ground away from her earlier far-left positions. Just maybe she (and others) would be up to shifting further and stepping up as exceptional, moderate American leaders when it is so badly needed. The opportunity is there.
Grady Means is a writer (GradyMeans.com) and former corporate strategy consultant. He served in the White House as a policy assistant to Vice President Nelson Rockefeller. Follow him on Twitter @gradymeans1.