The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

    Middle East continues to split dems and reps

    We all know Congress is divided, but recent events with the Middle East show just how divided we are.

    It’s no secret that Republicans and Democrats haven’t been working together lately. Intense partisanship that has stopped almost any cooperation plagues the parties.

    Recent events have not helped this attitude, as a recent address to Congress by recently re-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on 3 March, as there was some controversy as to whether or not Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) could actually invite him to speak without presidential approval.

    Many Democrats, including the Black Caucus and President Obama, stated their opposition to the address, and did not attend.

    “It’s almost unprecedented that Congress would take that step and and invite a foreign dignitary without consulting the President,” said Mr. Colameco, AP US History teacher. “It’s really a slap to the face.”

    Israel continued to be in the news during their parliamentary elections on March 17, when Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party defeated the center-left Zionist Union Party. However, Netanyahu stated that he was against a two-state solution with Palestine, although he has since rescinded that comment.

    “There are many facets to this conflict,” said Mrs. Beverly Gordon, Head of the History Department. “Someone who is completely not open to the creation of a Palestinian state all but stops progress, because it takes out any possibility of compromise.”

    President Obama in response has stated that there will be a “reassessment” of some aspects of the US-Israeli relationship, putting him more in line with a growing branch of progressives in the Democratic Party which espouse pro-Palestine views.

    “I do think there’s a drift towards Palestine,” said Hunter Peck ‘17, President of the World Affairs Club. “Republicans are overwhelmingly pro-Israel, and the Democrats are now opposing that, driving the two parties further apart.”

    “I just think there are too many Jewish voters in the United States,” Colameco said, “It really doesn’t have anything to do with Palestine or Israel, just getting votes. And unless that voting pattern changes, and I don’t think it will, the Party will stay pro-Israel.”

    This is just one aspect in how Congress is so divided. But why is Congress so divided?

    Mrs. Gordon said this is not the first time Congress was divided. “There’s been division, but not really on this level. However, I don’t think this is the worst division. I think the most antithetical parties were the first ones.”

    “I can’t really wrap my head around this time though,” she said, “I really think it’s about labels. People take one stance or another. It’s not really about a strong platform, but it seems to be more personal, for lack of a better word.”

    “It definitely has to be gerrymandering,” Mr. Colameco says, “What happens then is that more extremist candidates can win primaries and elections. If you have a district evenly divided, you have candidates who have to appeal to more moderate voters. It doesn’t happen in gerrymandered districts.”

    Mr. Colameco stressed that both parties are to blame for the gerrymandering, and thus the division.

    This attitude is not really shared by students at Malvern, Peck said. “A lot of students here place blame on the divisions on issues, and specifically Israel on the Obama administration,” said Peck.

    Fixing this intense partisanship is a long ways away, says Colameco. “You could try and redraw the districts, but that goes through the states, so it can’t just happen all at once.”

    “You know, in the 1980’s, Republicans and Democrats would fight tooth and nail during the day, but then go to the same bars at night.” Colameco said, “Now, that doesn’t happen today. It’s a very unhealthy situation for the American people and the nation.”

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