Per Wikipedia, bipartisanship is a political situation, especially in the context of a two-party system, as is the case for countries such as the United States and other western countries, in which opposing political parties find common ground through compromise. This is in contrast to partisanship, where an individual or political party only adheres to their interests without compromise. It has been debated among political theorists however that in practice, each party advances their own political agenda at the expense of the other party because of the conflicting ideologies.
During this first quarter of 2017, many U.S. citizens have found themselves in the midst of a political frenzy. After spending time in our state's and our nation's Capitol over the past few months, I've found myself wishing for more bipartisanship in our government.
As a representative for the Regional Organized Crime Information Center ("ROCIC") and a member of both the National and Kentucky Narcotics Officer's Associations ("NNOA" and "KNOA"), I spent a week in January in Washington D.C. at a conference and visiting our Senators and Representatives on the Hill. As a female Democrat prosecutor, I was definitely the minority in meetings with primarily male Republican law enforcement officers and legislators.
In February, I attended the winter conference for the Commonwealth's Attorney's Association. I also took advantage of a wonderful chance to attend a National District Attorney's Association ("NDAA") course in Savannah, GA. Both were fantastic opportunities to regroup from a crazy schedule and learn from and with some of the best prosecutors in the nation. Regardless of gender or party, prosecutors from across the nation seem to share a common bond and outlook on most issues, representing what I envision in a true bipartisanship arena.
I also attended several sessions of the Kentucky legislative session in February and March, in my role as Commonwealth's Attorney as an advocate for certain legislation and as a participant in the 2017 Class of Emerge KY. Unlike many other trips to the Capitol in our beautiful Commonwealth, I witnessed a noticeable void of the bipartisanship that I always enjoyed in Frankfort.
In this current state of our government, the male Republican clearly carries the biggest stick. More often than necessary, that stick is wielded in a way that flies in the face of bipartisanship. Part of the legislative process that always intrigued me was the sharing of ideas and information that helped lawmakers create bills that accurately reflect the diversity of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The opinions of citizens across the state were taken into account, expert and professional opinions were made more understandable and clear, and legislators made informed decisions for the betterment of all. Now, many pieces of legislation are proposed with minimal vetting, opinions of minority party members are stifled and votes most often fall straight down party lines.
I miss bipartisanship. I miss days when there were checks and balances. I miss the good-hearted sparring between members of opposing parties. I miss knowing that laws were passed with input from both sides and based on the best interests of the citizens of the Commonwealth and the United States of America. I miss when common ground was discovered through common sense and compromise.
Bring back bipartisanship.