A Second Open Letter to Senator Gillibrand (D-NY)
|By Contributor August Zeidman|
An open letter to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York:
Dear Senator Gillibrand,
Most of the time I consider you an effective and ardently progressive senator, one whose representation I appreciate and support for my home state and myself. Yet, this past month as part of the partisan slugfest that arose in Congress over immigration and status of DREAMers, there arose an issue that must be addressed. You were one of the Democrats who, when a bipartisan deal was finally reached for a short-term funding deal and bring more time for reaching an immigration deal, you were one of sixteen who voted against this.
Of course, the rights of these people is of the utmost importance and I firmly believe in a path to citizenship for those brought illegally to this country as children. Nevertheless, the fact stands that, at its root, the government has one job: to serve its citizens, its constituents. When the government shuts down, in the most literal sense possible, the government is no longer doing that job. The ability to compromise, even when it is simply to buy more time, is of the utmost importance and when this breaks down in favor of brinkmanship and rigidity, the people who suffer most are those who are most vulnerable in American society.
I also find it slightly hypocritical the way some Democrats have embraced this form of fund fighting after the way they went after Republicans in general and the Tea Party in particular after the 2013 shutdown. Of course, I would not compare the Tea Party and the more liberal wing of the Democratic Party except for the fact that they have embraced some of the same tactics to push forward more extreme positions.
More recently, you have also come out against the two-year budget deal along with Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. I believe that this is a mistake for the same reason. By providing more time to reach an agreement on immigration in open debate rather than the continuation of pushing the legislative brink a better compromise with more bipartisan influence can be achieved.
The way forward is together and, even though reaching across the aisle may be difficult and an outstretched hand may be slapped down, the important part is that the effort is made rather than remaining a hard line.
For the Next Generation,
This letter has been edited by Editor Mateo Portelli