Thursday, July 19, 2018

Craig Ford: Something has to change

  Americans have been voting for change for as long as I can remember, and the desire for change isn’t limited to one political party. Before President Trump ran on “draining the swamp,” President Obama ran on a slogan of “change you can believe in.”

  In fact, the desire for change might be one of the only things left in politics that everyone can agree on.

  And it isn’t just changing the way our government operates. Most Americans are ready for a change in the way we campaign and how we talk about politics.

  Nearly everyone I know or have met recently has, at one point or another, told me they are sick and tired of all the negative campaigning.

  I couldn’t agree more!

  While it’s important to have a serious and passionate debate about the issues and the merits of the candidates (after all, we can’t have democracy without debate), it seems like civility and respect have gone out the window.

  It wasn’t that long ago that people could debate issues with passion and then go have dinner together afterwards. We respected the person even if we didn’t agree with them.

  But that attitude seems to be missing from today’s political scene. Politics has become a game of “us versus them,” where choosing sides is more important than solving problems.

  On many occasions, I have watched lawmakers refuse to support a bill or a policy, not because they disagreed with the bill or the policy proposal, but because they simply either didn’t like the lawmaker who proposed the bill or because the bill came from someone in the other political party.

  That kind of thinking is exactly what’s wrong with our politics. How many times have we seen politicians rail against the other side on an issue or the way that side handled a situation, only to turn around and defend their side for doing the exact same thing and behaving the exact same way?

  The American people are tired of the hypocrisy, tired of the mudslinging, and tired of all the division and infighting. Something has to change!

  That is why I chose to run as an Independent, and why I chose to run for the Alabama Senate instead of running for re-election to the Alabama House of Representatives.

  I want to bring people together to solve problems. Yes, let’s have debates and take a stand for our principles. But let’s not forget that we all serve the people, and our first obligation is not to a political party but to the people here at home.

  Our elected leaders need to spend less time worrying about right-wing and left-wing politics and more time worrying about right and wrong.

  As a captain in the Alabama National Guard, I can assure you that when we’re on duty, none of us care if the soldier next to us is a Democrat or a Republican. We’re just focused on getting the job done. And that’s how it ought to be in the Alabama Legislature and in our other elected offices.

  It’s time to bring true change to our politics. Not just new faces but a new philosophy and a new way of thinking.

  About the author: Craig Ford represents Gadsden and Etowah County in the Alabama House of Representatives. He is currently running for the State Senate in District 10 as an Independent.

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