One day in seventh grade homeroom, I was handed a sheet of paper from my teacher. I saw three checkboxes followed by three words. In the moment, I didn’t really care about what was happening and checked the box that had democrat next to it. Looking back at it now, why should we have had to conform into these three groups?
When the Framers were creating the constitution, they tried to think of every possible scenario that could happen to the country they were creating. George Washington, the first president of the United States, even warned his constituents that hyper-partisanship would be the end to the United States. An example of this is Nazi Germany, when the Nazi party ended up gaining full political and military control of Germany.
Differences in political opinions are unavoidable… but it is to be regretted, that subjects cannot be discussed with temper on the one hand and with more charity in deciding on the opinions, and actions of one anotherGeorge Washington to Alexander Hamilton
Since the 1970’s, hyper-partisanship has been on the rise. Then, this century there was a sudden increase in partisanship. Along with this, violence between our two parties began to increase. One side, the democrats, focuses on civil liberties and social equality with support from a mixed economy. On the other hand, republicans support: lower taxes, deregulation, increased military spending, restrictions on abortion, restrictions on immigration, gun rights, and restrictions on labor unions.
Today, one of the first questions you might be asked is “what political party do you support?” or “who did you vote for in 2020”. Friendships would be decided and arguments at the dinner table during Thanksgiving would arise. But why must we have to fit in these two drastically different parties? What if I wanted social equality, civil liberties, gun rights, and lower taxes? While there is an “independent” party, it’s essentially a political laughingstock, with no actual independents winning a presidential seat in the history of these United States.
This is the exact thing Washington was against. In D.C, if you aren’t a democrat or republican, you’re essentially on your own. You get little to no funding and you’re basically a wildcard. At birth, you’re born into a democrat or republican family. You watch news from either left or right leaning media channels, and even the brands you consume support different sides of politics.
Hyper-partisanship is so deeply engrained within our society that most of us don’t even notice it. Subtle notes on the news to skew our views and even the shows we watch portray different sides in ways that the director would want. The fall of our democracy is inching closer and closer, and the growth of hyper-partisanship is just one of the first steps towards this countries downfall unless the next generation stops it.
Hi Kiana! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience. Your post really resonated with me, as it brought up a lot of points I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’ve always been frustrated with our two-party system and the limits it can put on the nuances of political opinion. I wonder how this could change going forward, because I have little faith in politicians to relinquish the Democratic/Republican binary, since many have made their careers off of it and so much money has been invested into the two campaigns. It seems like it is reliant on voters to start to pull away from the two-party system. But in the past, when I’ve heard people talk about voting for an independent, the most common response from individuals on both sides of the political spectrum is “You’re wasting your vote! If you really care about the future of our country, you need to pick a side.” And the people saying it often don’t even love the candidate they are voting for, but they really feel that if they don’t vote in line with their party, they aren’t participating politically at all. I think it’s that kind of mindset that needs to be shifted – empowering people to vote, regardless of whether it’s for someone who is part of either party, and reminding Americans that every vote really does matter even if their candidate doesn’t win. An independent wouldn’t have to win the presidency in order to make a difference; just having a significant percent of the population (even 10%) vote independent could shake up the political scene. Maybe that’s overly optimistic, but I do think that it’s a potential way to counter hyper-partisanship.