In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Fifteen Minutes.”
First of all, I have to apologize in advance. No one should have to listen to me talk for fifteen minutes straight. Since I have your undivided attention though…
I’d like to take a few minutes to talk about something that has been weighing on my mind for quite some time. It’s an issue that I’ve been noticing more and more, and to be honest, it’s scaring me just a little. I think if people would be more mindful of this issue, we would have a more productive government and society as a whole. What issue could be so important that it overrides virtually every other issue we face today?
The polarization of politics in America.
The two major parties in America have seen a paradigm shift in what their constituents are concerned about. Gone are the days of bipartisan compromise and trying to find common ground. Instead, we are digging in our collective heels, and absolutely nothing is getting done. The causes are numerous and entirely too complicated to cover in a fifteen minute speech, but the effect is the same.
Our government is gearing up for a complete government shut down in a matter of months over access to a certain subset of health care. We are nearing two dozen candidates in the republican primary alone, and the current front runner is Donald Trump. The only reason there aren’t more candidates running under the democratic primary is because Hilary Clinton is very good at making people believe she is the only viable option. And the only person who has a chance against her has been labeled a socialist because he actually represents what the democratic party claims they believe.
This polarization presents in virtually every aspect of politics and government, and it’s spreading like a cancer throughout our society. The vast majority of people are much more moderate than what the candidates would have you believe, but there seems to have been this shift in the last decade towards catering to the fringe of each side of the political spectrum. Those of us who consider ourselves moderates are left wondering what the fuck happened to compromise and dialogue.
And this polarization is going to have long lasting consequences if we do nothing to stop it. We have to realize that no one wins if we dig in our heels on every issue and refuse to compromise. If the republican party were to have their way, women would have little to no access to reproductive care, we would be invading yet another country, the middle class would cease to exist, gay and transgender people would not have the same basic rights you and I enjoy, and we would return to the industrial revolution where workers worked 60+ hours per week and had no job security. We would be reliant on the goodwill of corporations to treat us fairly, which they have demonstrated time and time again that they are not capable of being trusted with that. I don’t even want to think about what their “policies” on global warming would do to our world in a matter of a few generations.
If democrats had their way, we would be faced with rising government debt, a much higher tax rate than we currently pay, and people would be much more reliant on the government for their day to day existence. I’m concerned about how our country would look in the international arena if democrats had no push back about their more extreme ideas regarding our military and foreign relations. I believe they would leave us vulnerable to attack by stripping down our military and leveling economic sanctions against countries or regimes that are growing stronger by the day. And I would fully expect to see a complete ban on private gun ownership within a decade of them taking complete control, and that is being generous.
No one is ever 100% right. Ever. There are things that each party is right about, and we would be wise to step back and realize that we don’t have all the answers. Our government will only work if we work together to make this world a better place. We have enough examples in history to tell us exactly what happens when extremism reigns supreme, and we are barreling toward polar extreme’s faster than the speed of light. So take a step back, realize that you’re not always right, and listen to people instead of talking over them. Our country, and future generations are relying on us, and so far we are royally fucking it up.