Sick of Partisanship

As the whole presidential race idiocy begins winding itself up in the media, I grow increasingly agitated at the state of politics in this country (the ol US of A for those of you who stumbled acrost this page randomly). The whole nature of all interactions here, whether political, economic, or legal, all seem to have to be made on adversarial terms. It’s always A vs B. It’s never A working with B to produce C. It’s Democrats vs Republicans. It’s capitalism vs socialism. It’s environmentalist groups vs corporations. It’s good vs evil. Etc, ad nauseam.

The problem with this state of affairs is that when it comes to issues where all parties involved need to work together to create any kind of real solutions to major problems, such as in the arenas of public health, or reducing carbon emissions, then there is never any progress made until things attain such a state of degradation that it is undeniable to everyone that drastic measures must be made. And by that point, of course, it’s just a little too late. It’s “damage control,” instead of “preventing catastrophe.” It’s “rebuilding from the ground up,” instead of “retrofitting existing structures.” Aside from those of us who subscribe to neither liberal nor conservative, nor Democrat nor Republican, most Americans are quite happy to delimit their perceptions to one side or the other. Once you’ve picked a side, most issues resolve themselves rather conveniently into black or white. And you will never understand the perception of the “other side.”

If you’ve read any of my political rants in the past, then you know that I obviously don’t hold much patience with Republicans and conservatives of most any stripe. I really don’t have any interest in seeing their point of view, because it dominates enough of the political and cultural scene as it is, even as “liberal” as Americans pretend their major cities might be. But I also despise Democrats and people who blindly adhere to notions of liberalism as simply ideological opposition to Republicans, while mostly, in action, still just big-business economic ass-kissing just like conservatism. But ultimately, I really don’t give a hang about Republican or Democrat. I care about issues that truly affect the world and the nation, and that truly need to be addressed, one way or another. Issues such as revitalization of the economy, global warming, and public health. And the only way that such issues will ever get addressed is if people in positions of leadership put their fat heads together and work out the nitty-gritty details as a team, instead of squabbling over ideological issues that they will never resolve simply so that they can maintain political supremacy.

And this is the exact point where the pseudo-Democracy of the United States begins to look a bit out-dated and inefficient. Because it seems to be in the very nature of our economic, legal, and political systems to be adversarial, partisan, and privatized and individualized. Any kind of notions of “teamwork” seem to invoke knee-jerk allergic reactions to the ideologies of socialism and communism. But addressing and resolving trenchant issues such as those embedded in public health and global warming require a social cohesiveness that will not be achieved through mere partisanship. We must somehow go beyond ideologies, whether political, economic, or otherwise, and attempt to look at issues through a cumulative scattered cohesion of lenses, the liberals and conservatives and goods and evils all sewn together into a temporary visage of futurity. A rainbow quilt of different perceptions, meshed into a higher vision, beyond that which could have ever been achieved through the simple antagonism of isolated fragments. Such a networked collectivity of expression can still be competitive, aggressive, and progress oriented. But it must necessarily demolish the currently seemingly intractable obstacles of factions squabbling over (largely irrelevant) ideological issues.


Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

2 thoughts on “Sick of Partisanship”

  1. I agree with your rant. Although there are a few folks that I just can NOT talk politics with-I find that most average Americans are FAR more rational than the politicians we support. For example, I can actually admit that perhaps, on occasion, George Bush made one or two small errors in judgment whilst in office. Even though I am a ‘fiscal’ Republican/social liberal who votes Republican. Although I find it increasingly difficult to vote straight Republican– when I hear obnoxious partisan stuff coming from the left, it makes it easier for me to stick with my party line. I’m sure the opposite is true for dems. I’ve always wondered why politicians feel like they need to rally their ‘base’ when these folks are already 100% committed to the party and already voting in all the elections. Why can’t a moderate (from either party) win by rallying the swing vote. Perhaps by simply NOT being obnoxiously partisan. For example, if the dems chose Obama instead of Hillary or the reps chose McCain instead of Guiliani. They both seem less polarizing than the more likely ultimate candidates. Wouldn’t that be a more interesting contest and better for the country.

  2. I certainly hope someone who can unite the parties takes the lead over the typical candidates. Although one of the things that is especially frustrating in these campaigns is that the media always immediately presents all issues in the most partisan manner possible. So in the Democratic presidential bid for example, it’s constantly “who is winning in the polls right now?” Or it’s “Hillary vs. Obama!” Instead of concentrating on any substantive representation of what all the particular candidates stand for. The media machine focuses on how the candidates present themselves to be filtered through the media machine. It’s a disturbingly self-reflexive method of reporting that eliminates depth and the ability of normal people who don’t have the time or interest to research the candidates for themselves to make informed decisions.

    I think most people are more interested in what these candidates are actually ready to do in terms of addressing real issues, rather than what their political jockeying methods are, or how their hair-do looks in florescent lighting. And the last thing that matters is what their views of gay marriage or abortion happen to be. How about what their views of the increasing disparity between rich and poor? How about their plans of how to fix the complete and utter mess that is our health care system? And yes, most importantly—as you’ve pointed out—how to best unite Republican and Democrat into a shared vision that will best serve the nation and not just their own political ends?

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