Having been eligible to vote since 1972 I have given up that franchise on the national level since 1992. Learning in school that “We The People” have the privilege of electing leaders who best reflect our views. In that way the United States was unique in having a democracy that all nations could aspire to. Except we don’t and they don’t either. In America we have become so polarized as to vote along party lines instead of electing politicians who best represent our views. This is often because the national party gives us such little choice in the matter. From 1972 – 1992 there seemed to be glaring and contrasting choices for president. The 1992 election proved how polarizing the two parties were as Ross Perot split the conservatives and inadvertently elected Bill Clinton. Since the 1996 election the choice between each party has narrowed and become less distinct. The result has been really two sides of the same coin. Our democracy is in trouble as a result of this kind of tyranny by the two party system.
It seems that “We The People” have forgotten that unity is our strength. It seems we have forgotten how America was founded. We fought, we bled, and lives were lost, but through their sacrifice the words “Give me liberty or give me death” became true. Together we made America. Unfortunately, the two-party system does not reflect that.
Its greatest fallacy is the lie that two parties can ever fully express or understand every American’s need, point of view, or problem. George Washington, the first President of the United States, warned against the two party systems because it narrows our vision and ideals. Yet time after time we have allowed politicians to restrict political dialogue. America is for the people, not politicians. Yet they hold the keys and increasingly the elections are bought and paid for before they’re ever run. The days of a congress of citizen politicians is gone and has been replaced by a ruling class.
It’s time we take back those keys. We must eliminate professional politicians and replace them with citizens. There should be a 15-year life period for each member of Congress. Term limits in congress makes as much sense as limiting the terms on the president. When President Obama, then a senator, spoke at the 2004 Democratic Convention he said, “this isn’t red America, or blue America, it’s the United States of America.” We have lost this vision, and to retain it we must tear down and rebuild America’s political system. In fact president Obama is a good example of this kind of tyranny. Good words with no real meaning or belief in anything besides the next election.
We must build a system where the small guy matters, because at least once we are all the small guy. Where everyone has a voice no matter what and all opinions are heard. We need a multi faceted representative group of parties that represent all of us. Democrat, Republican, Liberal,Conservative, Progressive, Religious, Ethnic, Moderate, Constitutional every party that can garner support. This multi party system would then have to work as consensus seeking representatives who work for the people.
We no longer see the brother next to us as our fellow American, double for those across the political aisle. That aisle needs to be filled with chairs and our leaders need make that reconciliation happen instead of continuing the gridlock. “We The People” need to do our part as well. The change America needs is in our hearts, because the ultimate responsibility falls on us. We cannot allow ourselves to be so divided that we can’t reach consensus. While following elections, it is our responsibility to sort through all the promises and hear what the candidates are saying and what they aren’t saying. It’s time to put “We The People” back in charge of our elections and strip the national parties of their grip on power.