Political Parties: America Divided

By: JoAnn Snavely

Since America’s establishment in 1776, a country originally built on unity has turned into a divided nation. After America declared itself an independent country, they decided to use an election system where the people elect leaders to represent the people. From there emerged a Republic style government in which there is a leader–chosen by the people–who makes decisions for the people. These leaders are elected every two or four years, when voting for a leader, each leader resonates with its own political party. Political parties were developed in the late 1700s, early 1800s. Initially, it was a two-party system– the federalists and anti-federalists. 

In today’s heated political society, party lines have changed and Americans are turning on each other. With mass protests in rivalry with one another, hate crimes committed against each other, and the almost childish competition between the two is something all parties are responsible for. With this increased tension, why is the system that has worked for America for over 100 years failing us now? How will political parties take the once United States of America and make it the divided states of America? As the next presidential election quickly approaches, and with the pressure of all of the issues in the country right now, who we vote for and why we vote will be even more important than ever before.

VOTING BLIND

When registering to vote, one registers to be republican, democratic, liberal, or independent. Usually, the party one registers as is defined by their morals, family, and demographics. Today, many Americans are following a system where we aren’t voting for the best candidate; people are voting for the person who is marked in their political party. This unfortunate fact leads many Americans down the track to vote for candidates who aren’t truly fit to be in a position of power. Voting blind is a dangerous power for many candidates– these candidates are going into an election with a large group of people already backing them up. This is before even knowing what the candidates value. This also creates a division between the two parties because some (emphasis on SOME) people are blindly pledging their complete allegiance to the person who is running for their party.

TWO PARTIES CLASHING

These two parties that are strong in their views often take the debates outside of city hall– and it’s their right to. However, today many people are taking their friends and family and debating each other, bringing slander and sometimes putting other people’s lives in danger. Even in the past, this tension existed. We witnessed it during the Civil War, the Reconstruction era that followed the war, and it was obvious during the Great Depression. Of course, some of the divide is warranted as there are two separate sides of the political spectrum. One study discovered that the reality is, the two parties just don’t like each other, it’s beyond disagreeing about beliefs now, it’s about disliking because they aren’t in your political party. This abundant divide is also noticeable.  According to NPR,  “both parties say they overwhelmingly associate with people who share their same political beliefs — 67 percent of Democrats say a lot of their close friends are also Democrats.” This creates an even larger divide between the two parties because when they only associate with those within the same party, they aren’t challenged by the other party until they clash. 

 Our country, once built on unity, is being torn apart by the core of our government. If political parties were removed from our voting system, the tension wouldn’t completely dissolve; however, it wouldn’t be so divided. We, as a country, should elect leaders who are fit for office, who reflect our values as a country. Instead of blindly voting for the leaders who are affiliated for the political party we associate with, we the people would have the opportunity to educate ourselves on who truly is the best candidate fit for the roles of power. Who we vote for matters, and these elected officials have the power to destroy our country. If Americans continue to vote blindly for their political party, then the system has completely lost its purpose. If we are no longer voting for the best candidate to represent our country, why do we need political parties? These parties were initially created to help separate our beliefs to aid in choosing a leader, but now it’s just about voting for your specific party. With this unfortunate fact, it is obvious that political parties will be the downfall of America if we don’t do something about this issue.

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