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Differences will remain, overcoming them key

November 18, 2012
The Alpena News

As a solidly purple, ticket splitting voter, I'd like to comment on Mr. Speer's editorial regarding the red/blue, rural/urban divide in our country. A divided government that listens and compromises can usually find the best solution; somewhere in the middle. One party government can have side effects. The recent ballot measures came about as a way to work around the Republican House and Executive in Lansing. The controversial health care reform happened when Democrats controlled Washington. Better solutions could have come about in both places, if the sides had genuinely listened and talked with each other.

I think the differences between rural and urban voters are destined to remain with us. It's not education or wealth or income that necessarily causes this. Urban folks just need more government than rural people. Alcona County gets along just fine with one traffic light; cities have them at all major intersections. From traffic cops to restaurant inspectors, there are more needs for regulation and governing in cities. When you rely on government to regulate so many parts of your life, you naturally come to believe more strongly in what government can and should do.

Mr. Speer's observation that the House of Representatives held the chance for balance in our national government should be a sign that something is wrong. The design was the Senate should be the counterbalance to the population-based House. Montana, Maryland, and California each have two senators, regardless of head count or acreage. The effects of money, incumbency, and partisan redrawing of house districts have left us with a legislature quite different from the original design. I hope we can somehow find a way to a functioning, representative legislature in Washington. Perhaps, if both sides truly listen and talk to each other, we can find that way.

Mark Kay




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