Congressman Bill Owens, speaking recently in the City of Plattsburgh, said ideology prevents progress in Washington, D.C.
The Republicans think they are right. The Democrats believe they are right. They each believe the other party is wrong, and that appears to be it ... period.
In fact, it seems as though it is more important to be right and to further certain ideological stances than to embrace reform and progress, especially if it comes from the wrong side of the aisle.
This refusal to work together is actually nothing new in politics, though considering the state of the nation, it is becoming increasingly frustrating and pathetic.
Consider the number of uninsured in the United States.
President Obama started out fighting for universal health care before settling for something much less and more problematic. Now one does not have to agree with the president's plight to admit that the current state of health care in the country is a mess. Beyond the number of uninsured, those who have insurance available to them often cannot afford it, and while medicaid is available to the poor, finding doctors who accept it is a near impossible task, not to mention the difficulties that arise pertaining to what will and will not be covered.
Then there is public education.
The task of educating children has been growing increasingly more difficult over the past few years as aid shrinks and costs soar. Plus, taxpayers have been pushed to their limits, so schools have nowhere to turn to for revenue.
As a result, school districts throughout the North Country and across the nation have been eliminating jobs and making painful cuts to programs, if not axing them altogether. In fact, many districts have done away with athletics, arts, extra-curriculars, programs for at-risk students and advanced classes for gifted students.
And this mess is merely in its infancy, because next year and the year after will likely be worse.
New York lawmakers claim they are becoming a model for the rest of the nation due to their bipartisan efforts ever since Gov. Andrew Cuomo took office.
Frankly, it's too early to tell, especially when this latest dose of so-called pension reform inspired equal cries of condemnation and celebration in a deal that appears to have partly been about bolstering legislators’ chances at re-election in the way of redistricting.
But what can be certain is that, given the current state of the nation in the wake of the Great Recession, the public cannot afford for lawmaker squabbling, egos and ideology to get in the way of much needed relief.
It is not a matter of who is right or wrong. It is a matter of what is right, for everyone.