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Letter: We need a pragmatist to move nation forward

We need a pragmatist to move nation forward

In the New York primaries, I voted for Bernie Sanders. He was uncompromising, someone who has been in Congress for 30 years and could explain every vote he’s ever cast, and for all that time he has been on the right side of history. But as the senior incumbent senator from Vermont, he never had to compromise, his seat was always safe.

Sanders, not unlike President Obama during the 2008 campaign, was a visionary and ideologue. I’ve always held onto an old elementary school adage that you should shoot for the stars because, though you may not reach them, you will travel farther. Yet is that adage true?

Obama certainly did accomplish a lot in the last eight years, but in many ways he fell far short. Whether it’s health care reform, which did expand health care coverage but did nothing to lower the skyrocketing costs, or foreign policy, which did see the death of Osama bin Laden and the withdrawal of U.S. troops, but also ignored elections in Iraq and expanded drone warfare, his terms have been a mixed bag.

So what does it take for real progress and lasting change? A pragmatist. Being realistic, listening and compromising. It’s not sexy, but that is what is going to move us forward further than the ideologues. As my old AP U.S. History and Government teacher used to say, using an old Bismarck quote, “politics is the art of compromise.”

In her acceptance speech, in alluding to Philadelphia and this same wisdom from our Founding Fathers, Hillary Clinton could not have made a better case for her presidency. It takes a pragmatist.

Brian Serwicki

Orchard Park

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