Why I Hope That Democrats and Republicans Do Well in November
This Post Is Not Going to Be All About Peace, Unity and Singing 'Kumbaya'
Let me start off by saying that I’m not a policy wonk. In fact, I don’t even follow politics as much as I used to.
However, there was a time when following politics was somewhat of a hobby. During that time, one of my favorite shows was “Crossfire” on CNN.
As described on Wikipedia, “Crossfire is a current events debate television program that aired from 1982 to 2005 on CNN. Its format was designed to present and challenge the opinions of a politically liberal pundit and a conservative pundit.”
Believe it or not, I am a fan of the pundits on both sides of the aisle (i.e., Robert Novak and Tucker Carlson on the right and Paul Begala and James Carville on the left.)
The way that I see it, people on either side of the aisle aren’t right 100 percent of the time. In fact, the best solution is often found somewhere in the middle.
The problem is that people who hold certain beliefs often surround themselves with like-minded individuals and, therefore, don’t have their thoughts or beliefs challenged very often.
As Dr. Nicholas DiFonzo points out in a New York Times article, “Among like-minded people, it’s hard to come up with arguments that challenge the group consensus, which means group members keep hearing arguments only in one direction. When we hear a rumor denigrating someone in the opposing political party, we are far more likely to send it to friends — typically members of our own party -- whom we think would enjoy hearing that rumor. Yet most people are far less likely to challenge false rumors about the opposing party, because that might be considered a social faux pas among their friends.”
That is why it is so important for people to watch or participate in civil debates with people from the other side of the aisle. Only with vigorous debate will people be exposed to ideas and alternative solutions to the problems that face our nation. While some people might not change their mind no matter what other people tell them, by being at least exposed to an alternative viewpoint offers the opportunity for people to learn and possibly incorporate part of the opposition’s argument into their own ideology.
It’s the Way That Our Founding Fathers Wanted It
The Founding Fathers of the United States of America made sure that there was a separation of powers and checks and balances built into our system of government by creating the three branches of government: Legislative, Executive and Judicial.
They also gave the people the power to vote to determine who presides over the Executive Branch (President) and Legislative Branch (House of Representatives and Senate.)
In the spirit of having the checks and balances that the Founding Fathers intended, I believe that it is in the best interest of the country when the Executive Branch and both chambers of the Legislative Branch aren’t controlled by one party. In other words, I feel that it is best when the Democrats control either the Executive Branch or at least one of the two chambers of the Legislative Branch, but don’t have control over all three (President, House of Representatives and Senate.)
When one party controls the Executive Branch and both chambers of the Legislative Branch, it’s like giving a teenager the keys to a sports car, but disabling the brakes. Only bad things can happen.
When both parties control at least one of the chambers of the Legislative Branch or the Executive Branch, it gives the government the checks and balances that Founding Fathers intended and it encourages debate and compromise.
I am aware that even if a party doesn’t control the Executive Branch or either chamber of the Legislative Branch, they still have the ability to put the brakes on any legislation that they choose via the power of the filibuster in the Senate if the opposition doesn’t have the 60 votes required to invoke cloture.
Furthermore, the opposition party might not want to make compromises in an effort to show that they are representing the people who elected them. If the current party that is in control doesn’t get much accomplished, it also helps the other party gain control during the next election.
In my opinion, though, gridlock isn't such a bad thing if the legislation that is being considered is too far to the left or the right.
Okay, This Post Does Call for Peace, Unity and Some Singing of 'Kumbaya'
I believe that most Americans, whether they are Democrats, Republicans, Independents, or have some other political affiliation, basically all want the same things. We just disagree about how to get there.
In many cases, the fact that we can disagree and debate the issues often leads to the best solution.
We also need to remember that what makes America great is the fact that we are a melting pot of cultures from all over the world and that being an American means that we have the right to peacefully disagree.
In the end, we are all Americans who deserve respect, no matter what political beliefs we hold.
Therefore, I urge everyone to remain civil this election season. Remember, we are more alike than either side of the aisle likes to think. I just hope that it doesn’t take another event similar to 9/11 for us to remember that.