Partisanship seems problematic

As I thought about what to write about this week, I found myself remembering a conversation I had with a friend a few weeks back.

Oddly enough, it relates to yesterday’s election remarkably well. We were considering the idea of partisanship and how it ties into an election situation.

I tend to have no stomach for partisanship. It can be seen over and over again in our nation’s history as having an incredible impact on the outcome of elections. The problem, I feel, is that of dualism – issues are forced into categories of black and white, for or against.

In this day and age, though, both our nation and our world are faced with so many questions that are situated in the grey, and the two-party system falls short of dealing with them.

In many cases, it can be observed that people who identify as a Democrat or Republican often feel compelled to vote with their party. To do otherwise would present a threat to their reelection. They might not be able to vote for their own personal convictions if they happen to go against those of the party at large.

For example, an elected representative might be anti-abortion yet pro-gay marriage, issues which fall distinctly on opposite sides of the aisle. Say this representative is a Republican – will that person vote the way he or she feels about gay marriage, or will that person stay with their party’s beliefs? As can be seen, a decision one way or the other could have an extremely profound impact on public policy.

If people felt free to vote according to the way they felt rather than in conjunction with their party, I feel as though many of the issues faced by this country would have different outcomes. These outcomes would better reflect the true beliefs of the people behind them, instead of displaying the mindset of the majority party.

As a general rule, people tend to live in the grey areas, where their beliefs, values and morals cannot be labeled as entirely conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat.

The founding fathers were very wise in their distrust of partisanship – such a system does not reflect the ideals of our nation or democracy. I believe it would be a real discredit to this country to allow such a system to continue.