Bipartisanship seeks to divide, not unite

Editorial Board / Washburn Review

The Democratic party is full of Communist hippies. The Republican party is full of fascist squares. For anyone who is not a communist hippy or fascist square, where do they sign up when it’s time to vote?

Well, there are the independents, who then have no representation when it comes to picking candidates. Or you can vote for the Green party, and just be a regular hippy, not a communist one. Or you could be a Libertarian, although no one is quite sure what that is. So, realistically, the majority of us (more than 50 percent) will cash in our chips with one of the leading parties and rationalize our stance based on family tradition, religion, and all the rest. But can anyone truly say that their political party of choice completely represents their interests? Can anyone say that they are well represented by the political candidates that their parties choose in the primary elections?

Often, people describe their voting choices as “the lesser of two evils.” Granted, even if America were theoretically able to shift away from the two party system, it would be rare for anyone to find a candidate that they totally agreed with. But with the two party system, you don’t even have the option. Often, people complain that voters (especially younger voters) don’t bother to learn the issues or the candidates’ stances before hitting the polls. However, there is no incentive to learn anything about candidates who are running on a platform that, in a general sense, was established before they were born.

This issue, of the warring parties, has apparently been an issue since the very beginning of the U.S.  George Washington, in his farewell address said, “A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.” He was referring to the rivalry of the political parties, and how although political competition can be good, dividing the country into warring factions is never a plus.

But that’s what we are. Divided. How many things are split along party lines? The war. Economy. Health care. And just because we have a president who is willing to be “bipartisan,” we hail our country as progressive. Yet, do we need more “bipartisanship”? Because it’s very unlikely that any Republican senator represents a state whose voters are all registered Republican.

The two-party system has led to more pork barrel spending and “old boys” kind of thinking than many would care to believe. If our government representatives would stop bantering about party affiliations and “your side vs. ours,” perhaps it would be less difficult to accomplish their goals. Instead of priding themselves for being bipartisan, maybe someday our leaders can pride themselves on being NON-partisan.