Home Opinion OPINION: Political parties are creating a strong, detrimental disunity in the United States

OPINION: Political parties are creating a strong, detrimental disunity in the United States

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Opinion writer Emma Stefanick, a freshman studying journalism, explains why political party divisions in the United States are causing citizens to lose sight of the common good. 

With so much controversy in today’s political climate, it can be hard to find unity within the government. Endless arguments of who is right and who is wrong encircle the public, leaving us trapped without a state of common ground for the common good. 

“There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution,” stated John Adams in a letter to Jonathan Jackson in 1780. 

Perhaps there is something to be said about this statement. After all, more and more people in the U.S. identify as Independent every year, hitting a high of 47% in October of 2013 compared to an all-time low of 27% in February of 2005. With politicians constantly trying to prove their agenda is the “right way,” many people in the country are just trying to vote accurately for the policies that are in the country’s best interest. In many states, however, those who choose to vote Independent are unable to vote in the primary elections. This leads us to the question: How is this democracy?

The intense polarization of these political parties has placed restrictions as to who and what we are specifically allowed to vote for based upon one’s affiliations. 

There is this notion that a Democrat must vote for Democratic policy, and a Republican must vote for Republican policy, which insinuates the idea that there is no gray area, nor is there much compromise. 

For those who do not identify as Independent, the choice between Republican or Democrat is often made by aligning with the politician of “lesser evil,” or who they feel most closely aligns with their own ideals. This creates disunity within the public that causes heightened political tensions — arguing over who is right and who is wrong, reflecting a loss of understanding of the common good. 

When people hear the Star-Spangled Banner, they stand, remove their hats and place a hand over their heart. This demonstrates an understanding of what is expected from society — a sense of common ground and unity.  

If society can understand something as simplistic as this notion, then why has our political realm lost touch with the representation of the common good for this country? Why have our politicians turned us against the truth of doing the right actions in favor of our own selfish agenda? This is the beginning of the death of democracy.  

As stated by Abraham Lincoln during his Lyceum Address in 1838, “… they were the pillars of the temple of liberty; and now, that they have crumbled away, that temple must fall, unless we, their descendants, supply their places with other pillars, hewn from the solid quarry of sober reason.”

We cannot save this country from demise if we do not stop thinking in terms of Democrat or Republican. Politics should not be about who is running for office, nor is it black and white. We need to start thinking about what needs to be changed in order to improve society and in which that change embodies both liberal and conservative concepts. It’s not about a government overthrow. It’s about gaining a little respect for reason, reality and the citizens of this country. 

Please note that these views and opinions do not reflect those of The New Political.

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