As an eternal optimist, I truly wish all elected officials could place our Union over partisan politics and adopt a resolution honoring the 70th anniversary of the "Declaration of Conscience," as presented by Sen. Margaret Chase Smith on June 1, 1950. (U.S., Congress, Congressional Record, 81st Congress, 2d sess., pp.7894-7895).

Additionally, the resolution could update Sen. Smith's original language to something like:

1) Each elected senator/representative hereby acknowledges they are first and foremost Americans. As Americans, together we express our concern with the growing divisions and extreme bias creating confusion that threatens the security and stability of our country. Democrats and Republicans alike have contributed to the current hostile environment.

2) The animosity between the Executive and Legislative branches has contributed to the current political situation, creating a dire threat to our national security, influenced by petty political bitterness, disdain for rightful criticisms, and outright intolerance of opposing opinions, all contrary to the intention of the founders and in violation of the sworn duty to uphold the Constitution while respecting differing ideologies.

3) Certain elements of each branch of government and the major political parties have materially added to the confusion in hopes of riding their respective parties to victory through the selfish political exploitation of fear, bigotry, ignorance and intolerance. There are enough mistakes of either political party to constructively criticize the other without resorting to baseless political smears and fallacious social media campaigns.

4) To this extent both major political parties unwittingly, but undeniably, are playing directly into the design of external influencers to "confuse, divide and conquer" our beloved Union. And

5) It is high time that we stop being tools and victims of totalitarian techniques that, if continue unchecked, will surely end what we cherish as the American way of life.

Michael Stern, Fort Edward

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