Across the country, many papers have a headline that reads something like: U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise addressed racist group, referencing a speaking engagement that Scalise had over 12 years ago.

Such headlines and the laughable inferences made from it not only reinforce the reasons independents do not affiliate with one particular party but cast doubt on the merits of the entire party system.

What used to be Americans seeking the country’s common good while disagreeing on the means by which to best bring that good about has turned into a war of bitterness and futility.

Scalise was not a member of this group. He did not say anything that would indicate that he shares any of the beliefs of this group.

Scalise simply talked to a group of people he was elected to represent. The more political parties and biased media outlets fan the flames of partisanship, the more it will discourage decent and qualified people to serve and regular people to participate in the political process.

At the end of the day, a current U.S. representative spoke to a group of his constituents 12 years ago about issues that mattered to his state. So what? Let’s cut out the noise and talk about something that matters.

Richard Sandberg