POLITICAL CORNER: Problems with partisanship

Lack of political unity damages democracy to its core

Photo Courtesy of Youtube

Written by Nathaniel Tok, Peak Associate

Remember when we voted based on issues rather than party lines? Pepperidge Farm remembers. But seriously, as someone who obsessively follows politics in America, and to a lesser extent the world, I can’t help but be disappointed with how things are turning out.

I believe both political sides have their merits and their failings. Yet every time I turn on the news, some political party or another is accusing the other political party or political figure of failing the country, or even accusing the other side of betraying the country. I mean it’s gotten so bad that sometimes news networks report on and criticize other news networks if the two networks don’t share the same views.

The worst thing is when ordinary people start to buy into the rhetoric. Talking to people on both sides, it seems to me that we are starting to focus less on the actual issues, policies and the nuances and just ranting about the other side. Both sides think the other is the perceived enemy of the people.

Why do we not listen to other side? For those on the right, Abraham Lincoln said “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”  For those on the left, former President Barack Obama stated that “Reconciliation carries more rewards than retribution.”

This partisanship has got to stop. It’s senseless, harmful, and useless. It divides people without reason. Strong and vocal opposing parties with checks and balances are necessary for democracy to flourish, but this has gone too far. It is telling that the current American Secretary of Defence, James Mattis, notably an independent politician, said in an interview when he first got the job that what worried him most in his new position was ‘the lack of political unity in America.’” We would do well to heed that warning.