Political wool over the proverbial Sheep's eye
Polarized, divided, broken... WE are the political pawns in high office chess.
Death penalty, abortion, global warming, foreign trade agreements, increased budgets for social programs.... These are all areas that remain hot button issues argued year after year. Some spending more than 50 years as front page fodder for the masses.
We as a nation remain divided along the lines of our beliefs, and our politicians do as well. Do they represent the different groups in their beliefs, or do they dictate the belief of the party knowing full well they will receive unwavering tribal support? Its almost a "chicken or the egg" debate. Is it truly believable that we have had democrat controlled houses, and republican held houses and yet these hot button issues seem to grow ever more divisive and unsolved every year?
If it is true that the politicians follow the prevailing winds of the general public on these hot button issues, then why haven't republicans put a total kibosh on abortions and why have the democrats not opened the border in a humanitarian effort anyone south of the US border?
Some would argue that it is because the opposing parties ensure these outcomes do not come to fruition. This seems far more unlikely since the dominant party can claim the victory and make the following election a shoe in since they clearly have majority support. With the next line of logic being that the party leaders determine the platform and the support they receive is mindless tribalism on both sides. It leaves one to wonder why then would they pass a bill in favor of their constituent's demands?
While the incumbent party could do exactly that, it would leave them without an enemy, and the enemy is necessary to maintain the tribalist following. Not moving in the direction of voters' desire is a safe place to be. If the hot button issue of the day is abortion, and legislation goes unfavorably for one side they just have to make sparks and blame the opposing side. If they win, then they can claim their victory to their base. This is a non losing political location to be when the debate is a matter of unresolved opinion. For example, the hotly debated issue of abortion is never broken down into fact based terms. All laws are preceded with a list of definitions, but none in regards to abortion appear to define life, medical necessity, person(s), or reproductive rights. All are terms strewn about justifying one side or the other and if we could agree on the definition in legal terms, I think the abortion debate can be put to final rest.
Our politicians spend year after year debating the same topics instead of running on new issues. While some will spend their election bid talking about issues like our tax system being over complicated, and tightening down on food stamp fraud, none ever seem to head towards the finish line once elected. Introducing a new idea, and running with it begins to charter into dangerous territory for politicians since anything that happens afterwards becomes their fault, good or bad. If the number of deaths related to starvation increase in the two years after ratcheting down on food stamp fraud, the politician spear heading the effort as well as the supporting party will take the hit for it. Even if in the same year a twenty five thousand refugees who are malnourished and starved enter the US and account for every one of those loses, the blame will be pressed on the party that took the leap into efforts most can stand behind.
Leaving the normal hot button issues to remain leaves a safe place for politicians to operate. Whenever an outsider comes along and introduces a new idea, it is often buried as unimportant because "abortion is still legal!" and "we have families who are being broken by the current administrations' border policies!" They claim that these are the issues worth endeavouring over legitimate issues that can be readily solved to the benefit of the masses.
Most people are completely aware of the gridlock in congress, and are completely dissatisfied with the performance of the same yet they continue on beating the same dead horse.
When abortion does not play a role in your life because it is not a decision you would make, the death penalty doesn't come across as a potential demise since you aren't a serial killer, global warming scientist can't keep a straight answer long enough to devise a solution, and most of the bathrooms you use are one holers, and private restrooms, it makes sense to concoct a list of issues that impact your life. If your finances are strained and the IRS says that you owe money now because of a mistake made while navigating the increasingly confusing tax code, write that down as an issue worth voting on. If you work in an inner city area and you see crimes being committed in broad daylight without any police presence, write it down. If the company you are working for is starting to lay people off, try and find out why instead of blaming management. Maybe the reason is the prices of the raw materials have gone up due to a piece of legislation that seemingly benefits no one. Vote for the man or woman who will advance the causes that impact you.
While it is unclear if the tribalism is a cause or a symptom, one thing is certain, select a candidate to vote for that is going to best embody the issues impacting you. This will ultimately take the power away from the politicians using us the political pawns we are in a never ending game of political chess. The division in our country is a tactic, one that is well polished, and of benefit only to those we elect.
While it may seem worth while to vote for other peoples' interests, it is clear that the people we vote for are supposed to represent you too. Morality is a decision you make in your every day life, and allowing a party to dictate to you what is moral, and what is good is not what the founding fathers intended. They fought tyranny so the common man could be represented in the government by which the are governed.
It seems silly to worry about issues that won't fix but a small aspect of a few thousand peoples' life so they can continue to live with the same crummy systems and laws that can be fixed. Congress can fix more than bathrooms, and abortion laws. It is time we do our part, and hold them accountable to the people the represent.