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KATIE ZERR: Majority must use their power to push extremists out

Why is it so hard to join hands and work together to make this country’s government work for the people?
As millions of Americans reach into their pockets and donate to the people who have been impacted by the two major hurricanes that slammed the south, and thousands of volunteers rush to help those who are in need, we are reminded what can happen when we work together for the greater good.
Recently a former Mobridge resident who now serves on the Sioux Falls City Council called to praise the residents of Mobridge for their efforts in keeping the city moving forward and making it a better place to live.
Theresa Stehly lived in Mobridge for a good part of her childhood. Her dad was a banker and the Stehly family was here when Mobridge had a population of more than 5,000. That was before the MDU power plant shut down, Northwestern Bell closed their office here and the railroad pulled out of Mobridge.
Those three major employers leaving the community hit hard, but the community has fought back and the people here have fought to keep it from becoming just another dying little town on the prairie.
Stehly praised the community efforts to build the new school and especially the new pool. She said in Sioux Falls she had pushed for a new pool in an under-served neighborhood in that city. She said the cost for that pool was more than $4 million “and it is just a postage stamp.” She said after seeing what was built in Mobridge for less than what was built in her city and cost more money, she felt her city was duped into over-paying.
She was generous with her compliments to the city and to those who worked hard to make the pool a reality.
The schools, the pool, A. H Brown Library, Tiger Stadium and the city park are just a few examples of how things can be accomplished when people work together with a goal in mind. Mobridge is a shining star when it comes to working together to get things done, to help those in need and to volunteer to make it a great community.
The funds raised to help those impacted by the hurricanes, the preparations before the storms hit and the work to keep people safe during the storms are other examples of what can be accomplished when political differences are cast aside and people work hand-in-hand.
But we are in a political crisis in this country. The divide between the left and right is ever widening. It is not because of the current president. This has been a part of the landscape for several administrations.
We are a country deadlocked by partisan politics. Our Congress refused to listen to each other’s ideas because of the radical nature of politics.
We have the Steve Bannons of this country declaring war on anyone who has a differing opinion than the sitting president and using the power of media to hit those people hard. He has “declared war” on those people and vowed to use the power of his position at Breitbart News to topple them.
The 24-hour mainstream media is only too happy to pound on the political division, showing bias one way or the other. The once-sacred rules about truth and fairness are buried deeply beneath the need to be number one in the ratings and the push of certain political agendas.
White supremacists, the Nazi party, Antifa, eco-terror groups and others have active and fearless members whose actions further divide this country.
This divide, this dysfunction in our country, is paralyzing the nation. Our Congress fails to act on vital issues for fear of being targeted by certain groups.
These extreme right and left groups are the minority of the population yet they are the loudest.
Americans in between the far right and the far left need to become more vocal and more active. We need to step forward and drown out those in the extreme wings that are getting the media attention. We must step up to protect the rights of all Americans, not just those hand-picked by the extremes.
The more people who speak up, who go to the polls and support politicians who are willing to do what is right for this country and not just special interests, the more change can happen. We need to drive those unwilling to compromise to make things happen in Washington, out of Washington.
We need to push our members of Congress to compromise for the health of this nation and not to ostracize those who reach across the aisle to move forward instead of sit idle.
It was a step in the right direction this week when in a surprise move, the president made a deal with Democrat leaders on the raising the debt ceiling.
This may not have been popular and may not have even been the right move on some levels, but it did open a door a crack that has been locked tight for years.
We the less vocal need to remind our elected officials that they were elected to be leaders, to be our voices in government, to be statesmen and women.
It is time that majority again be heard.