Polarizing Politics don’t serve the People

One man’s opinion about the warring political parties.

Polarizing Politics don't serve the People

Eli Erickson, Columnist

With the elections less than two weeks away by now and numerous people making their decisions on which of the two presidential candidates will be leading our country, I felt that it is of utmost importance to discuss a variety of matters regarding each political party and its representatives- as well as possibly remind everyone of some realities that I feel we often forget in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives.

First, discussing the matter of the presidential candidates, the parties that they serve as the figureheads for, and the competence and integrity of both.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden, even before this article may have brought it to light, have received fairly polarizing receptions from the general public. People who advocate for Joe Biden generally say that he’s a capable and dependable man who has the sincere interest of our country’s welfare at heart, while those who oppose him say that, in reality, he’s suffering from senile dementia, and his only comprehensible language is only him echoing what his party wants him to say- and also say that he’ll be removed from office once he’s served his purpose so the top two leading positions in our nation can be taken by Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi, towards shady ends. Conversely, advocates for Trump insist that he is a shrewd businessman and politician who subverts the traditional way of doing things for the economic benefit of our country and simply lacks tact, while opposers of him say that he is a xenophobic, misogynistic manchild who lacks the professionalism and self-control required to be a capable leader of our country. Likewise, people’s opinions on the two primary political parties are similar. There are generally two opinions that define one’s perspective on them- that being, one is the misunderstood and slandered good guy who values our country’s principals while the other is secretly selling us out to the likes of China and Russia, with the only difference being the person and where each political party falls within one of those comparisons. 

But to be completely honest, I don’t believe that either main political party is good for America- and that’s because their conflict with each other is undermining the effectiveness of our country. Let’s say that we take some kind of huge issue with the nation- poverty rates, violence, or the national debt. But instead of addressing these issues and combining their efforts towards solving these problems for the whole of America, the Democrats and Republicans would rather call each other names and try to spitefully trip each other up through slander, political ads, and undoing the hard work of the opposing side rather than building off of and improving it- while each side blames the other for being the power-hungry liar who’s trying to destroy our country from within. The fact is that both main parties are so concerned about looking like they have the moral high ground purely for the sake of influence that nothing of lasting positive consequence gets done in our country- the positive efforts of the previous Republican president will be undone by the current Democratic president, and vice versa, in a self-destructive cycle that will persist until the day our country is no more. It doesn’t help that, in many regards, many public politicians- particularly the President- stand in puppet position; they serve the interests of their political party, not the interests of the people. 

George Washington- our first U.S President- even warned the people of the U.S about this in his farewell address after leaving office.

“While [political parties ] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.” 

In fact, something that not too many people seem to bring up is the fact that many of the virtues typically correlated to one party or the other can, if the political parties dividing them were removed from the picture, be immensely beneficial to our country. I will never not feel disappointment when I hear a Republican use the term “progressive” as an insult, or a Democrat use “conservative” as a phrase of disdain- because both, as of nowadays, have been bastardized into meaning “a spineless SJW sheep who is a supporter of communism” and “a sexist and a racist who is also a heteronormative crusader” respectively. Who says you can’t support gay relationships and transgender people, while also believing that sex change operations should be coming out of their own pockets instead of our tax dollars? Who says that you can’t believe that certain ethnic groups in our country do worse than others, while also believing that illegal immigrants and the strain they might place on our resources might be a problem? Who says that you can’t believe in improved treatment of women and blacks in our nation, while also  believing that people who lit fires and caused property damage during the recent riots were out of control and in the wrong. Who says that you can’t be a strong advocate for the Second Amendment, while also believing we could look deeper into how guns fall into the hands of those who would abuse them, as well as improve our means of keeping them out of such hands? 

Not helping matters is the media. I understand that it’s par for the course to simply watch the news and go about your day, but the truth is, a lot of the news is biased or skewed in it’s information. If you watch more than one news channel on the same subject- or, better yet, look beyond the news and read informational sources beyond those that echo the same general viewpoint- you’ll see that a lot of news stations omit information on the topics at hand- that is, if the topics being brought up aren’t simply trivial, or if they simply opt to not say enough about the topic to really glean any useful information. Also, there’s literally dramatic cliffhangers and commercial breaks every other second- a lot of news channels are literally closer to a sitcom or reality TV show than anything truly informational.

As for how we, as Americans, can fix this? The truth is, I don’t know if we fully can. However, something we have to keep in mind is that, as per the United States Constitution, those in power are supposed to represent the voice of the people. They only have as much power over us as we give them. So the best thing we can do is to prevent ourselves from giving them too much power- and that means being smart. Stay informed- never trust just one news source, opinion, or belief- or, better yet, look into the matter and see the truth for yourself. Don’t rely on aggregated sources that echo back and confirm your already-existing biases. And always remember- if you see, hear, or read something and it seems suspicious- or, conversely, it seems too good to be true- odds are that it probably is. 

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