Divide and conquer. That is the strategy of our political leaders, and it is the reason why our elections never seem to change much in Washington. Nobody likes corruption, most of us are still bitter about the bailouts for crony-capitalists while individuals face foreclosure, we all want to be safe, and most of us don’t want to be spied on. So you might think that we would regularly clean out the House, which the electorate has the power to do every 2 years. We could also be firing 1/3 of the Senate every 2 years. We don’t do this because we are conquered by these political elite who have effectively divided us. Even though “both sides” agree that our government is just terrible, proven by congressional approval ratings in the single digits for the Republican House and Democratic Senate, people still generally think all the problems stem from the other side of the aisle.
This does not mean there are not general things we can gather about each major party, and therefore agree with or disagree with on the whole. But what we should really be doing is filtering our “own party” in order to be sure that when the general election comes around, it is about the person and not the caricature that the party has created. My sympathies may have in the past fallen more in line with Republicans, but barely, and only because of the issues that are important to me. Even so, there are probably fewer than 10 politicians in Congress who I actually think are good politicians. Scratch that, good politician is an oxymoron.
I get more angry when I see McCain or McConnell vote for government corruption and crony capitalism because they supposedly represent me. And it is people like them and George Bush who made me realize that simply voting Republican will not solve these issues, because there is little difference between the majority of politicians in both major parties. Many egregious violations of Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights can be traced back to the Bush administration, the Patriot Act, and the fear mongering stirred up just after 9/11 which effectively stole our rights. The reason this was able to happen was because we had been divided by our politicians who exploited the 9/11 terrorist attacks in order to hide their true agendas to seek power and control.
And when Obama came into office, the same sort of division took place. One of the major things Obama ran on was reigning in Wall Street corruption. Yet while we were debating about whether or not Obama was born in America, he was busy appointing a Department of Justice entirely comprised of lawyers from firms that defended big Wall Street clients mired in corruption.
Republicans play on some of their base’s prejudices by stirring the pot with questionable remarks about homosexuals and minorities, which just alienates anyone who might otherwise agree with important stances like fiscal responsibility, and upholding the Bill of Rights. Likewise Democrats will exploit racial tensions and gender issues to gain an upper hand in elections, alienating those who might agree with stances such as curbing defense spending and decreasing foreign intervention. The point here is that we should not be blinded by the divisive rhetoric. Politicians hide behind their parties, while we should be voting for the person—or if you’re brave, opting out of the system. Republican voters for too long took the bait and blamed all the budget issues, destruction of the Bill of Rights, and crony capitalism on Democrats, while their party had an equal hand in spending too much, and empowering federal agencies to violate our rights.
According to a Gallup poll 72% of Americans now say that big government is the biggest threat to America in the future, while 21% point to big business. Even the majorities in each party agree that big government is our biggest threat, 92% of Republicans, 71% of independents, and 56% of Democrats. 20% more people now feel the government is the biggest threat than in 2009. But if they use that as “our chance to take power” from a Republican standpoint, then they sacrifice any real gains that could be made in decreasing the scope of government, and maintaining our Constitutional rights.
Why not put party aside and maybe some less polarizing figures would run for office. Not less polarizing as in “middle of the road” crony capitalist status quo. Less polarizing as in, maybe we should address this whole immigration thing without talking about deporting teenagers who don’t know the language in their “home country”. Maybe we can talk about passing a balanced budget without pretending this will mean the death of single mothers and gas chambers for the elderly. Maybe we can all agree that the government has grown too large, and have a mature conversation about ending subsidies and reforming welfare. Maybe we can discuss the possibility that state governments should have rights without accusations of racism being fired off like artillery.
There are some encouraging signs, like the left and the right coming together on certain privacy issues involving illegal spying on citizens by our government. The libertarian movement among the Republican party is also helping to oppose interventionist foreign policy as many Democrats demanded during the Bush administration; and Obama’s continuation of ultra-interventionist foreign policy proves that this is not simply a party issue.
Let’s steal the power elite’s tactics of war, and divide and conquer our own politicians. Not between left and right, but on the same side of the aisle. Divide the true Republicans from the power seekers. Divide the true Democrats from the control freaks. Conquer the undesirable elements in each party, and deliver better candidates to general elections. This does not have to be a mushy “all move towards the center” movement, it can be a movement where each side actually decides what they stand for, and are not given the reality TV version of politics. Then when it comes to the general election we can discuss the actual consequences of legislation instead of hurling insults across the aisle.
There is plenty of room for debate and differences of opinion, but it should be on substantive issues instead of the pathetic squabbles initiated by corrupt politicians and their media lap dogs. Is Santa white? Why was this ever debated on a “serious” cable news station? What good could possibly come from taking a position on this? The only possible outcome of debating about if Santa is white is to divide people further in the race category where tensions are already reeling because of the political exploitation that is entrenched in American racial issues. Next let’s debate if only racists dream of a white Christmas.
Can we just have a serious talk about the intrusiveness of a plethora of government agencies into our everyday lives that never used to be areas touched by government? Can we talk about if our rights should still exist when our information is stored on a hard drive instead of on paper? Let’s talk about our foreign policy to see if intervening overseas really keeps us safer, or just enriches the military-industrial-complex? Can you consider the possibility that an open border puts America at risk, until markets are free enough to respond to that risk? Can you consider the possibility that the government should not be defining religious terms, and legislating morality?
So here’s my plan. The left and the right come together on one issue this next election: term limits. We all agree that anyone who opposes term limits will not survive the primary, and we don’t stop paying attention right after the election. Can we just remain vigilant for 2 years? 2 years, that’s all it would take to make sure that all those congressman who promised they would pass term limits actually do it, and if they don’t, we impose our own term limit as voters on them particularly, and elect someone who will vote for term limits.
And if that is too much to ask, why not pass a Constitutional Amendment limiting all congressmen to 6 years in office (and say abolishing Congressional pensions), that’s one term for Senators and 3 for Representatives. With the increased turnover in Congress, the incumbent’s advantage would be reduced, and incumbents are the worst perpetrators of party politics, while also being able to use name recognition to avoid answering tough questions, and being accessible to voters. There is hope for us all, we just need to realize that it is our oppressors in DC that are the enemy, not necessarily the people that vote for them. Refuse to be divided, talk to those across the aisle, discuss real issues, and you might just realize that the evil caricature is a divide and conquer construction by the political elite who care about nothing more than maintaining their own power.