By Don Wallis
Gridlock on the federal level may increase the authority and power of states and local communities.
The midterm elections are over, the Democrats control the House, the Republicans dominate the Senate, the President commands the allegiance of what almost constitutes a third party.
After most elections for national office the winners pay lip service to the notion of bipartisanship. This year Washington is not even bothering with that pretense. The knives are out, the passage of meaningful legislation for, among other things, an infrastructure bill, appears to be very much a secondary consideration on Capitol Hill and in the White House.
Political observers, with deep sighs of frustration, bemoan the inevitable gridlock. The country, for the most part, has lost faith in the federal government. It’s perceived as venal, duplicitous and incompetent.
But something positive is occurring as a result of the quagmire in the nation’s capitol.
State governments are reasserting their power. They are passing bills to address, immigration, environmental degradation, employee safety, gender equality, and health care.
State and federal courts of appeal are exercising their independence by ruling on contentious issues with fairness and common sense.
On the local level, the vast percentage of the people in this country who are opposed to the trouble mongering of the radical Left and Right are beginning to assert themselves. These are the people who want to improve race and ethnic relations, not aggravate them. These are the people who want better jobs but not at the expense of the environment or at the expense of those less fortunate than they are. The Silent Majority is not nearly as silent as it once was.
Local communities no longer count on federal assistance as a given. People are working together, and with local politicians, to tackle crime, drugs and deteriorating neighborhoods.
There is a growing realization with people in this country that rectifying seemingly intractable problems in their states and local communities will only be accomplished by setting aside political and social differences and working together.
This is the silver lining to federal gridlock.
Don Wallis has more than 40 years experience in residential and commercial construction, and land development. He also has a law degree and currently teaches Environmental Law at Santa Fe Community College.