Partisan politics are bringing our nation’s growth and success to a screeching halt.
There seems to be an increasing tension between our two national parties. Republicans and Democrats have been at each other’s throats for as long as I have been alive, so it is expected, right?
As one grows older, he begins to understand that things are often more dynamic than they first appear. Life isn’t black and white. Not every issue has a clear right and wrong option. There aren’t always perfect or even semi-perfect solutions.
Finding compromise between two polarized beliefs is an essential part of growing up and becoming a stronger society member. It is the modicum of understanding that allows us to empathize with others and to collaborate to solve problems, ensuring our growth and survival. It is apparent that there have been many struggles over power and influence in Washington D.C., which is reflective of human nature.
But in this struggle, many people seem to have forgotten what middle ground looks like. So many people have become locked in their ways. It’s Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal. But American issues are not black and white; our representatives in Washington shouldn’t be either.
A study from the Depew Research Center in 2014 showed spikes in partisanship over the past 20 years. Increasingly, American voters express consistently conservative or consistently liberal opinions. The number of polarized voters has doubled over the past two decades, from 10 to 21 percent. As a result, ideological overlap between parties has shrunk.
Today, 92 percent of Republicans swing right of the median Democrat, and 94 percent of Democrats shoot left of the median Republican. This sort of group thinking – an innate reaction to put all the eggs in one basket – is hindering our politicians’ efficiency and growth as leaders. Not enough politicians are willing to break away from their political packs, fearing being stranded by their own political party.
But if we want to create real progress and solutions, our politicians must embrace ideological diversity. Instead of being conservative and leaning toward all conservative standpoints, or being liberal and standing for all liberal points, our esteemed politicians in Washington must find some sort of medium.
I am positive that not all of our representatives in Washington think one-sided. There must be some premier Republicans who lean left on some issues. There must be some top Democrats who lean right – or has the moderate breed of politician gone extinct? That is as big a travesty as polar bears being wiped out by climate change.
We don’t see commercials about saving the moderate politicians that offer a stuffed effigy of a moderate party leader if you donate to the cause. Today it seems that any willingness to compromise has become a sign of weakness. Being a moderate to many in modern-day Washington is the same as being a double agent in a James Bond film. This is a massive problem.
If the United States is to overcome its current struggle and reclaim its lost supremacy as a world leader, there has to be change. This nation must find a political middle ground before it is too late. The people need to see compromises between parties being made. It is the only path to redeem our once great nation.
This article originally appeared in the Nov. 4, 2015 print edition of The Echo.
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