Hats off to U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) and U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio). They both recently were honored with the 2023 Madison Prize for Constitutional Excellence from the American University School of Public Affairs.
The award is given to lawmakers who work together across the congressional aisle (Republicans, Democrats, Independents) to get things done for the nation.
Stubborn gridlock partisanship has become the new norm in the United States, at the national level and frequently at the state level. All too many of those elected to serve the people of this nation and to solve the problems facing our country care about one thing mostly – maintaining their party’s power and their own personal power.
The art of compromise, of give-and-take, seems to have withered on the vine in recent years, and that does not bode well for our democracy. It is a good thing we have two major parties – Democrats, Republicans, as well as Independents. That is because the hard, meticulous work of compromise often results in better, wiser laws so one side or the other cannot get everything it wants.
Portman said the following after being given the award: “It was an honor to receive American University’s Madison Prize Award along with Sen. Klobuchar. Throughout my time serving in the Executive branch, the House and Senate, I have learned the best solutions to the problems we face can be solved by collaborating with each other. It was a privilege to work with colleagues from both parties in both chambers of Congress who were committed to doing the right thing for the American people, even when it wasn’t the easiest politically. It’s important that as a country we get back in the habit of working together to find common ground.”
And this is what Klobuchar had to say:
“When we put partisanship aside and people first, we see results. From supporting our veterans and investing in our infrastructure to updating the antiquated Electoral Count Act to ensure electoral votes for president accurately reflect the will of the people in each state, we’ve passed important bipartisan bills to help address key issues and I’m committed to continuing to work across the aisle. I’ve always been focused on finding common ground that will lead to real progress, and I was honored to receive this award alongside my friend and former colleague Sen. Rob Portman.”
Klobuchar and Portman are perfect examples of elected lawmakers who do not strut their stuff, indulge in loud-mouth grandstanding or take big bucks from fat cats who tell them how to vote.
Instead, Portman and Klobuchar are both level-headed hard workers. They research the issues from every angle, then roll up their sleeves and get to work, compromising when necessary, knowing full well that democracy requires that kind of civil discourse of give-and-take.
Maybe there will come a day when many more lawmakers in Congress conduct themselves like Klobuchar and Portman?
Alas, that’s probably foolish wishful thinking.