The summer between my freshman and sophomore year in high school, I was a counselor at a local Jewish Community Center camp. I worked with a variety of campers ranging between the ages of three to 10 years old. As to be expected, there were countless fights and arguments among the campers on a daily basis.
After each of these fights, I would take both campers into a separate location where we would try to resolve their differences. I would mimic a skill used by my parents when I would constantly get into fights with my brothers as a child. Both parties were able to tell their side of the story, and ultimately, after some respectful dialogue and negotiation, each person walked away happy with the outcome we had eventually reached.
This strategy works wonders for a camp counselor dealing with kids under the age of 10. And this is the reason why I cannot, for the life of me, wrap my head around the fact that our political leaders act as children do with contempt towards any ideas or opinions their colleagues may have.
The people who we elect to represent us are not supposed to be as narrow-minded and intolerant as many lawmakers are today. Each side of the aisle is equally at fault for the extreme amount of animosity and disrespect towards one another, which has now created a wide division encompassing our entire nation. The resentment each side has for each other is embarrassing to our country on a world stage but even more dangerous to our citizens.
Take the most recent government shutdown, which occurred at the end of 2018, leading into 2019. Instead of rushing to pass a bipartisan budget bill to attempt to reopen the government, Democrats and Republicans alike dug their heels in and pointed fingers blaming each other for the government gridlock. All the while, thousands of Americans were being put on furlough during the holidays while at the same time, politicians were engaging in the childish “You started it” dispute.
Scenarios like this, unfortunately, are not unique in our politics today, nor do they take place only in the politics at a national level. All around the country, in different state and local legislatures, divisive back-and-forth arguing and failure to recognize legitimate ideas and policies from either side has widened the rift in our nation even more. The sad difference between the arguments, between these legislators and the campers I worked with at camp JCC is simple: the politicians are many years older than the campers. Their arguments are virtually the same, and both sides blame the other while refusing to listen to what the other side has to say.
This is why I implore the lawmakers in our political system today to stop acting like children and to grow up and compromise with each other in a respectful manner. It is exhausting to hear about all of the negative sentiment, which has poisoned our political theater nowadays. Even if it takes a camp counselor to mediate both sides, all I want is less fighting among our politicians and, instead, more willingness to negotiate with each other — just as any 10-year-old is capable of doing.