Squabbles among Democrats should not block progress - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Squabbles among Democrats should not block progress

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Usually, infighting among the Democrats in the House of Delegates is kept private. Other than whispers of discontent and hushed conversations in the back offices of the East Wing, it's not often we hear much about discontent among the majority party. 

This year, however, is an entirely different story. During a recent closed-door session in House chambers, tempers flared, voices raised and schoolyard threats were issued. So much for civility and the legislative process. 

If the delegates were honest with themselves, they'd admit they are not reacting to any one piece of legislation. Instead, they are dealing with the rise of a real two-party system and what it means to have to operate in a world where a "D" after one's name no longer ensures electoral success. For generations, how one voted or acted in Charleston did not matter all that much. The political realities of today are much different, and voter sentiment is rebelling against a national democrat machine that has, in many ways, marginalized the Mountain State. 

All this means that the good old days, when folks in the majority party could do as they please and not have to worry about what happened on Election Day, are coming to an end. Rather than embrace change and listen to the voters, the good ol' boys are projecting on each other. Actual accountability is leading to anger and frustration. This says quite a bit about how they handle problems under the dome. Rather than, at the very least, formulating some kind of game plan that voters might respond to, our elected leaders have resorted to screaming at one another. This is unfortunate in a number of ways and for a number of reasons. 

Spirited, intense debate about bills and proposals is a vital, necessary part of the democratic process, and we need elected leaders at every level who are willing to argue their ideas with vigor and passion. Yet, when they resort to name calling and shouting matches, we all lose. Nothing gets done because no one wants to back down and the political becomes personal. 

What needs to happen during this session and the changes that need to be pushed through are far too important to the very livelihood of this state to get bogged down by hurt feelings and tantrums. 

Now is the time when those in office need to step up and fight for the people who put them there. Leadership means dealing with change, not blowing up at one's colleagues.