Today, the U.S. finds itself less than united—at least when it comes to politics.
Perhaps the sentiment of disunity has been heightened by the election, which is leaving voters of all political alignments feeling disenchanted with their options. Those who typically vote along party lines, including big-name Democratic and Republican candidates, are distancing themselves from their respective party nominees.
America’s two-party system can do the country good; for example, the parties can facilitate voter decisions by limiting the number of candidates that can run for office, and by making it easier to tell which candidate aligns with a person’s views.
But political parties can quickly turn ugly, however, as it seems they have in the U.S. Candidates often place more focus on defeating the opponent on the other side than promoting their own platform and bringing about change. The parties themselves promote division, fighting for control rather than focusing together on the well-being of the nation. In elections, parties enable voters to simply check the box that has an “R” or “D” next to the candidate’s name without requiring any thought or research from the voter.
There are much greater concerns to this nation than which political party is more righteous and should be in control. We live in a world where terrorism threatens our borders from the inside and out, violence runs rampant, innocent people are victimized and people have to struggle and fight to even support themselves and their families. Yet, our greatest concern is preventing the other group of political parties from controlling the White House. It’s a petty rivalry that takes attention away from severe problems.
Not only is it childish to categorize ourselves and fight each other based on small differences of opinion, but it’s especially useless when millions of citizens don’t even feel they’re being represented by the parties.
The majority of people age 18-30 feel that neither the Republican nor the Democratic party does a sufficient job of representing the people, according to a recent poll put out by GenForward. The poll specifically targets young “racially and ethnically diverse young adults, according to the group’s website.
If such a large portion of the population is feeling misrepresented by the parties and the parties are supposed to represent the voters, it’s safe to say they’re failing.
The two-party system can cause divisions in non-political areas of life among these young people. Last fall, I ended up on a UA student-run email list for one of the early candidates, and I received a bunch of invitations to discuss the election and make friends with “like-minded students.” It’s concerning to me that impressionable college kids feel the need to associate only with people who agree with them.
Intellectual conversation with people of different opinions is healthy and allows one to stay educated and see things from a new perspective. We shouldn’t allow political opinions to limit possible friendships and conversations, or any other facets of life for that matter.
The two-party system is doing more harm than good to the U.S. We’re finding ourselves rooting for some candidates and booing others as if they’re players on a sports team, and it’s divisive and detrimental to our nation. We’re voting for a party label and looking down on those who disagree, rather than instigating discussion and coming to a mutual understanding.
Maybe politics would be a little more complicated without the parties, but at least no one would be left out and our leaders wouldn’t be separating us as a nation. At least we wouldn’t be childishly fighting among ourselves and maybe we’d be getting more done. We shouldn’t rely on parties to vote—we should rely on our minds and our consciences alone.
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