In our current hyper-partisan culture, legislation is requiring more and more issues to be discussed on top of the original bill. In regards to the recent immigration reform debates, further discussions are being carried out with regards to guns and gay rights in relation to illegal immigrants. Would these immigrants be able to own guns like U.S. citizens? Would gay U.S. citizens be able to sponsor their foreign-born spouses for permanent residency in this country? And even if Democrats were in support of these rights, should they even push for them knowing that they need the support of some Republicans to pass the bill (and vice versa)? These types of questions make it extremely hard for major legislation to be considered in isolation.
Some of us may be fed up with partisan politics, like CNN contributor John Avlon who claimed, “Americans are more divided about partisan politics right now than they are about race, class, gender and age … Forget the original sin of slavery and the longstanding fights over civil rights — those old divisions now seem small compared with perceptions of whether a person is a Republican or Democrat.”
Like it or not, agreement is often hard to come by. We do not all share the same beliefs and we do not all care about the same issues. However, our government is dominated by a two-party system, which means instead of seeing hundreds of politicians arguing with one another, we see two neatly-separated groups fight against each other (with the exception of some other parties and outliers). We as citizens get to identify with these parties and political views, and then we in turn debate with each other about the same issues politicians debate about.
Is it a surprise that the Senate is discussing guns and gay rights in relation to immigration reform? It definitely should not be. This is culture we grew up and live in. We have the freedom to speech and the country is (supposedly) a democracy. Therefore, politicians will advocate their views on multiple social and economic issues when discussing one large bill. Can these large bills be considered in isolation? It is possible but I think we all already know that it is unlikely.
Until an issue is deemed universally wrong, such as slavery (although a few people are still in favor of it), the issue will be brought up again when possible. Sure it may be laborious and extensive but I cannot imagine any other way for it happen.
We all have our own perceptions of the American Dream but unfortunately there can only be one American Reality. And that is what will always be debated.