November 13th 2004 A Political Plea
Alright, I know I said I wouldn’t discuss politics for the next four years, but politics is important in shaping our everyday lives, and hey, anyone who knows me should’ve known that I couldn’t keep a promise to not discuss politics for four years anyway.
I don’t care for whom you voted. The election is over, and a person is more than their politics, anyway. Bickering and pointing fingers can’t change the past. As I mentioned earlier, it’s time to start working together. I think America is tired of the partisan bickering in Congress. I know I am. It’s clear to me that if we’re ever going to actually solve any problems in America, all of us, left or right, libertarian or authoritarian, are going to have to put our differences aside and make an attempt to work together.
I’m certainly not naïve enough to believe that partisan bickering is new to politics. This sort of squabbling has been a part of politics since Thomas Jefferson and James Madison formed the Democratic-Republican Party to oppose Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist Party. However, in recent years, the squabbling has taken on more of a bitter, divisive tone. As Fareed Zakaria writes in a recent Newsweek essay,
If you are an analyst “on the right” you must always support what the team does. […] Republicans are now fervent nation-builders, but only two years ago scornfully opposed the whole concept. You must support your team. If you don’t, it screws up the TV show.
Any policy from the left is sure to meet an instant avalanche of criticism from right-wing think tanks, talk shows, political groups, and, of course, politicians. […] All of which means that honest debate, bipartisanship, and, hence, governance become close to impossible.
Anyone who has been paying attention to politics over the past couple years knows that Zakaria’s words often (perhaps even constantly) ring true. Unfortunately, this political fighting rarely results in progress for the average American citizen.
As the last two elections show, America is clearly a divided nation, split roughly 50/50 and along similar lines as the Civil War. Although he claims to be a “uniter, not a divider”, Bush has clearly done little to bring the nation together since the 2000 election. (In fact, it can be argued that this division—gun owners vs. gun activists, pro-lifers vs. pro-choicers, Christian fanatics vs. secularists, homophobes vs. everyone else—is at least partially the key to his political success, but that’s another tangent.) Michael Moore, while slandered a bit more by the right than is necessary, has done quite a bit to divide the nation, too. Well, you’ve all had your fun messing with America, but now it’s time to bring everyone together and find a middle ground. Some of America might be red, and some of it might be blue, but most of it is purple.
At the very least, inform yourself enough to make an opinion—and by inform yourself, I mean you should look beyond the spin of the politician’s advisers and the media, and form your own ideas. Take a stand on the issues! Then take those ideas and let your politicians—and everyone else—know what you think. It doesn’t matter what opinion you have—just have (an informed) one! It’s the only way to make politics bearable and workable in a representative democracy.