On Friday, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares spoke at a luncheon hosted by Virginia Free. Founded in 1988, Virginia Free is a non-partisan organization which aims to provide businesses in Virginia with information on politics from both sides of the political spectrum to better inform their business practices.
In this same spirit, Republican AG Miyares sought to illustrate the commonalities between Americans, rather than their differences.
Miyares began with a lighthearted joke at Sen. Tim Kaine’s (D-VA) expense, jesting that “We’ll see if he walks in wearing a hoodie,” in reference to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Shumer’s (R-NY) suspension of the Senate dress code, which was quickly rescinded.
Miyares then took a more serious tone, addressing the heightened polarization that has manifested in the American political system. In the midst of such animosity, Miyares posed a potent question:
“How can you claim to love your country if you don’t love your countrymen?”
Miyares referenced his experiences in the Virginia State Legislature as a member of the House of Delegates, noting that it is necessary to make compromises with people of different perspectives in order to facilitate effective lawmaking.
“In Richmond, we actually legislate,” Miyares observed, comparing the situation in his state favorably to the gridlock in Washington, D.C. Legislation in Virginia is crafted based upon the principle “Don’t change my life without a vote,” Miyares said. Miyares noted that this legislative principle aims to ensure that both sides could take some amount of satisfaction from the end product of their legislative process.
Americans’ political differences should not make them enemies, Miyares said. Miyares pointed out that the luncheon was taking place not far from Arlington National Cemetery. Miyares declared that, among all the thousands of crosses and stars of David, one would not be able to find any indication of political party on the graves of the fallen. Americans have, and will continue to lay down their lives for their fellow countrymen, he said.
While Miyares’ considerations would have been considered mainstream ten years ago, the fact that such normative observations need to be made at present suggests the depth of the current political divide that exists in America.