The following is the opinion and analysis of the writer:
I was privileged to hear a fine speech from who I came to assume was a gifted politician. Politics, it is said, is the art of the possible. In reality, politics must be about promoting positions. The opposite of politics is warfare, so I am a fan of a politics where we can promote an unfavorable position and build it toward a winning one.
Arizona State Rep. Kyrsten Sinema’s speech was well crafted. It presented an artful theme and applied it intelligently to a position. Sinema’s theme detailed lines at her door on Monday mornings when she worked in public education. The key to the theme was that there are always lines awaiting our help. This was a favorable position in front of a thousand public educators. She was one of us. She saw us.
Now, I wonder where Kyrsten Sinema has gone or whether she was ever really with us.
U.S. Sen. Sinema was part of the move to separate what was seen as “traditional” infrastructure from what has been argued for years as “human” infrastructure. Unfortunately, it seems that she was arguing for separation of two bills to weaken the argument for a renewed investment in the human basics of what makes our nation work as a whole.
To be fair, there are logical arguments for opposing the “Build Back Better” bill. The problem is that Sen. Sinema is not making any of those arguments. As an example, she campaigned for office promising to work to lower prescription drug costs. One of the best tools to do that is to allow Medicare to negotiate drug costs like most other countries do with their health systems. She says she’s against it, with little explanation, which allows the donations to her 2024 campaign from big pharma to speak volumes.
Sen. Sinema likes to compare herself to Sen. John McCain as a “maverick.” A maverick is defined as an independent thinker or an unbranded yearling calf. The problem is that a political maverick must stand for something or that maverick is simply an unbranded anarchist.
It is fair to say that Sen. Sinema has never been in a political body that is in the majority. To be in the minority in Arizona means having a muted voice. That’s an easy position to be in if your sole purpose is to remain in your position. Your only accountability rests in opposing those in power. Now she’s in a position of power and simply stating that “I’m in the Senate” is disrespectful.
The people who put Sinema in office — in a state that does not regularly elect people like Sinema — put in more sweat, toil and treasure to put her “in the Senate” than she did. We deserve better.
Political power is about administration. The term “administration” comes from the Latin root “Administare” meaning to help, to assist, to serve. Political power must serve our American Experiment, which draws power not from an authority, but from the people. There is no requirement that one answers to “gotcha” questions or to a specific political faction in the House, but when having the power she now holds, Sen. Sinema does need to answer the people of Arizona and the American public.
The lines in the hallway still exist in our public schools. They also exist at our pharmacies, our child care centers and, increasingly, within the minds of our young hoping for a viable future.
Politicians often need to make decisions that are contrary to the views of their constituency. A politician within our democratic republic should not remain without the explanation of their deeds. If the goal of power rests solely in donations, then the people are not served.
Jim Sinex is a retired science teacher and a part-time voter advocate.