(RNS) — The 118th Congress is now underway. Given its historically chaotic get began, the probabilities that this Congress can have the flexibility to advance insurance coverage insurance policies on the issues most Americans care about — the financial system, native climate commerce, migration, safety in our communities and world — little question seem dim. In actuality, the chance of energy polarization of our politics seems nearly certain. Two years after violent insurrectionists surprised the nation by the use of storming the Capitol, extremism and lies proceed to threaten the way in which ahead for our shared democracy.
It’s no shock many people want to give up on Congress. The gulf between Democrats and Republicans feels unbridgeable, so why hassle engaging with the institution the least bit? Nonetheless giving up on our elected leaders, even those we don’t like or disagree vehemently with, would greatest further derail our democracy.
If we hope to assemble a further merely, peaceful and sustainable world, we need to reclaim our democracy and the promise it nonetheless holds for our nation. We need to reassert that our govt should be of the oldsters, by the use of the oldsters and for the oldsters; that we expect our legislators to work together and remind them the fitting strategy to do it.
People of faith have a particular perform to play in bridging our divides and therapeutic our democracy. We’re known as to look that of God within every specific individual. As an 80-year-old Quaker lobbying group consistent with Capitol Hill, we’ve bought sought to make use of that comply with by the use of engaging in conversations with lawmakers of every political ideology and background. Even when they vary drastically of their beliefs or protection positions, we technique them with an open center and listening ear, believing within the potential for our private and their transformation. Development our democracy together is the one method it could be constructed.
That doesn’t indicate we flip a blind eye to evil or injustice, or that we allow lies to flourish with out speaking our actuality. Particular person conferences with those we disagree hardly result in a stunning commerce of center or shift in deeply held positions. But when they focal point on seeing all through the politics and polarization to our commonplace humanity, they are able to open home for further mild and actuality to shine through all individuals. When constituents many times show up for the issues they care about, it sends a clear message that regulation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It reminds legislators they’re accountable to their voters, and individuals are paying shut consideration. And it’s serving to us understand one another previous the positions and sound bites.
Constituent-led lobby visits are just one part of the puzzle. Letters, phone calls, op-eds, the town hall questions and, in spite of everything, our votes are all useful tools to make our voices heard. They’re essential to our democracy. In my view, their impact might actually really feel minimal, nevertheless cumulatively, these actions can shift political debates, observe energy and shine a spotlight on the issues most vital to the way in which ahead for our nation and planet.
Some might identify that wishful contemplating. I identify it participatory democracy. And although the 118th Congress got off to a disheartening get began, I keep happy the window for precise transformative commerce on Capitol Hill stays open.
Despite what we see on social media, polling continually shows most Americans nonetheless want a functioning, advisor, collaborative govt that works to deal with the problems our nation and our world are coping with. The foundational promise of our democracy — that every specific individual should have a voice and govt should serve the needs of the oldsters — stays sturdy all through our numerous nevertheless recurrently divided nation.
I to search out hope within the reality that that’s in all probability probably the most numerous Congress ever. I to search out hope throughout the Congressional Long run Caucus, which unites youthful contributors across the political divide to forge protection solutions. And most of all, I to search out hope throughout the a whole bunch of constituents, in our group and previous, who keep devoted to preventing violence, addressing injustice and retaining our planet.
The one antidote to a failing govt is the vigorous engagement of its other people. Precise problem-solving and environment friendly policymaking in Washington is probably not easy on this Congress. That’s why it needs us larger than ever.
(Bridget Moix is the general secretary of the Buddies Committee on Nationwide Regulation and leads Buddies Place on Capitol Hill and the FCNL Coaching Fund. The views expressed on this remark don’t basically mirror those of Religion Info Supplier.)