Battle of Ideologies is Destroying America

A blog article by Bonniejean Alford (Educator, Activist, World Citizen)

Recently, I read an amazing and poignant blog by someone I have watched grow up (http://kballantine.wordpress.com/2010/11/18/death-panel-hypocrisy/) and well, I am now moved to address politics.

Let me start by saying that ever since I could think, I was more drawn to the leftest side of the political arena, even if I am quite conservative on many issues.   I never planned to select a party and be committed to that party for life.  But like so many Americans, that is what happened upon the first time I was forced to make a choice in a primary election.  I was young, eighteen, and didn’t know better.  I selected my party simply because the then candidate for Illinois Senator Dick Durbin was a democrat.  As a house representative he was immensely helpful dealing with an issue for my family so it only seemed fitting to select the ballot he was on.

What I didn’t know at eighteen that I know now, thanks to hindsight, is that people fall into patterns.  Once I made that selection, I was locking myself into a pattern I wish I had had the courage to avoid, even if my decision was based on the choices of an admirable and respected man.

Consequently, until recently, I have never voted anything but as a Democrat, even when I felt there were no good candidates in the Democrat’s camp.  I went with the flow in many ways for fear of throwing away my vote.  But my vote, as well as everyone else’s, does indeed matter.  It is my chance to express my opinion to the powers that be, even if they never heed my thoughts, leaving me dissatisfied with the very nation I call home simply because the political machine is broken.

Truth is, I have long been dissatisfied by the state of politics in America, and well for the first time this past gubernatorial election in Illinois I voted outside our perceived traditional party system, thanks in part to the author of the blog I mentioned above.  The candidate I voted for had a distinct plan, a clear agenda, and hadn’t yet been corrupted by a broken system that sadly is bound to corrupt even the most un-corruptible.  That candidate from the Green party, Rich Whitney, didn’t win this time, but I am proud of myself for voting my conscience rather than by rote (I must admit though, in every other category I did vote Democrat).

In my defense, it is what I am conditioned to do.  Despite being promised freedom of speech in that glorious document called the Constitution, people absolutely, categorically, do not have freedom of speech.  News media, parents, schools, and so much more socialize us to a bipartisan life where we have to make a choice to go one of only two ways (just wait for my blog on sex dichotomy – coming soon), even if there are other viable and quite frankly better choices, as in the case with Mr. Whitney.

Fact is, I don’t believe our forefathers had this kind of system in mind when they set forth to create a nation build on equality and the representation of the people.  Shoot, the first elections didn’t have the candidates selecting a running mate for Vice President, the loser got that job.  While I know there were major problems with that system (I remember learning something about a duel over difference of opinions), it has to be better than the battle of ideologies that is without question destroying America.

To honor a great man, Martin Luther King Jr, who had the courage to speak up, even if it cost him his life, the check America wrote us all has been returned insufficient funds.

Those we have voted into positions of power as a representative of us citizens absolutely do not represent us or provide us with what we need to be healthy members of a healthy society.  I sure don’t feel represented most of the time.  In fact, I feel so not represented that I am left without an ability to have a sustainable life and practice liberty, let alone pursue any true level of happiness as promised over two hundred years ago.

But what are we to do about it now?

Admittedly, the answer to that question is bigger than any one blog.  I am not even sure what that answer is.  What I am sure of, is we, the citizens of America (and the world) have a right to be represented.  We have a right to have our voices heard and considered in the governance of the nation we choose to call home.  We have a right to freely express our opinions and emotions, even if the powers that be don’t like it and should not segregate dissenters to a secluded location to avoid embarrassment, or whatever former President Bush’s argument was.

I don’t want to take sides.  I don’t think we should be forced to.

The broken system of politics in America can only be fixed by the citizens of America if we truly want a government for the people by the people.  This is possible, and I for one am willing to commit to working toward finding the funds to cash that check so long unpaid.  Are you?

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17 thoughts on “Battle of Ideologies is Destroying America

  1. This is just the way America is.

    American culture has just been entrenched in a two-party system of politics for a long time now. It’s simpler that way. It’s not the best or most efficient way, but it’s easier to label things as either Dem or Rep. Everything must fall into two distinct categories. It’s just the way American politics have developed. I don’t agree with it, but that’s the way it is.

    There are some representatives from other states that aren’t with the two parties (although, they usually do vote with one or the other consistently). Then there are the third parties, but they never have any significant victories.

    I do agree, there should be some kind of reform. I’m not sure how it could be done. They could probably start with the Electoral College and work from there.

    Also, as a final note. The title is a little misleading. I first thought that this was going to be about con/lib ideologies going at each other, rather than a broken voting system.

    1. I definitely don’t think that an electoral reform could change the issue of this situation. I can tell you from my country experience where there are many political parties; at the end, the population cannot decide for the right candidate, since politicians make their own alliances between parties in order to take advantage of the major competitor party and win the election. It doesn’t matter if the party that they make a deal with represents totally different ideologies.

  2. As a now registered voter, I have not a clue about politics. I just had to write a paper about liberalism vs conservatism…if Google wasn’t around…I would not have known what was going on. History classes teach us about what historically went on and would say what party it was but when it comes to the in depth about the parties, they lack that. I am not suggesting a class specifically called Government Politics that is offered in High School but history teachers need to assist us as young as possible. I’m not saying put all liberal or conservative teachers in charge of this but someone in the middle who can literally teach what is the difference between the two and what it would mean to be a democrat or a republican.

    I feel the only way to fix politics is to start as young as possible so that political beliefs are established young and can see what problems growing up should be fixed if he (or SHE!) becomes President.

    1. It should start young; As young as possible. In other parts of the world, politics is discussed and debated more amongst communities. People in America are hesitant to say who they voted for and why. The young voters even are indifferent to politics that has such a profound impact on their life and future.

  3. I would say that I agree with the fact that we should be able to choose based on how we feel but what if that feeling was shaped by your parents and what you have known for so many years. That the feeling has becoming something that you must feel in order to be correct because this was how you were taught. I believe when it comes to voting that you can just go off feeling or what your parents expressed to you as correct but you must pick the best candidate that can help your situation. If a candidate cant help you in your life and the people around you then of what use is that person to the welfare of the state.

    1. I totally agree with the idea that we have to vote for our own best political option that would mostly benefit us, instead of following the family’s political party. Also, before taking first place in an important decision, we must scrutinize very carefully the political career of each candidate. This can only be done by always being open to different sources and media.

  4. There are a good number of people that vote simply based on political party. Many voters couldn’t explain what the candidates stand for or their views. Unfortunately that is the state of politics in this country and it really needs to change. I don’t see it changing though. This country is set that you are a Democrat or Republican and voting for another party will not lead to anything. It is a messed up system because the person that you might want representing you could be in a different party and they likely wont be elected. It’s a flawed system but it’s how it is and I don’t see many changes happening anytime soon.

  5. I agree with what was stated above, the majority of the voters choose their candidate based on the political party. They vote for a democrat because they like democratic views, even though, this candidate may not follow through with everything. Same goes for those who vote for republicans. However, people should be voting based on what the candidates stand for individually because they will have their own ways of going about certain situations, which someone may not like. I don’t believe that the system should be divided into parties because there could be a really good candidate that could change the world but they aren’t voted for because they don’t belong in the democrat party while everyone is voting for the republican or vice-versa.

    1. There is a very important point here about how the population is finally affected by the confusion between the candidate and the party. On the other hand, it is also true that the followers of a certain party face some deception when in the reality their winning candidates does not represent the party values by their decisions they make.

  6. I have been a registered voter for almost two years now, and have yet to approach a polling place on an election day. I always seem to have some sort of excuse: work, school, homework, etc. However, none of these are valid as they are all supposed to be sacrificied in order to allow every citizen to cast a vote and represent his or her opinion. Beneath it all, I am just scared to vote. I don’t feel comfortable choosing a leader when I honestly have no idea what his or her issues and platform is. I suppose that this is partly my fault, I could watch debates instead of sportsecenter, but I also feel that more time in our education system should be dedicated to politics, starting at ages as young as 10. This would promote awareness, and help to inspire all to vote, beginning at a young age.

  7. A two party system has done nothing but cause problems in the political world. Both groups have excellent ideas; however, too often nothing is enacted because of the constant power struggle in the system. For example, the Supercomittee formed to try and tackle the United States mounting debt, was a panel formed by three Republican and three Democratic leaders. They were given a deadline to iron out a budget that would close the gap, but they made no significant movement during their talks because everyone had their own agenda to push. Instead of fighting, we need to work together so we can stabilize our country. A volatile market and high unemployment may just spell the end for America as the lead superpower.

    1. I have the same opinion than you, Henry. I believe that politicians have to restructure their way to get an agreement. They have to include the real needs of the population and remember that at the end everything has to be done for a common good. I think that you have the right example where the irresponsible participation of the panel resulted in a lamentable financial underground to the US economy.

  8. In my personal opinion, I believe that it doesn’t matter if there only exists two main inclinations, and the confrontation between them by the legitimate power, whether by the battle of ideologies or the way that the politicians have been making their campaigns is destroying America. Politicians have been losing their credibility among the population, in part because they use arguments that divide the nation between their own beliefs, many times excluding the real needs of the people. For example, we can see in the Federal Elections Commission results letter of November 4, 2008 federal election, the numbers which founded Obama’s triumph. In summary, the results show that Obama won the election with 69,498,516 popular votes, and the percentage of the total voting age population was of 58%, considering that the voting age population was 225,449,000. But also important, if we make some calculations about these ratios, it shows the strong voting absenteeism. We can see that president Obama was elected by only about 1/3 of the population who is able to vote.
    On the other hand, the election campaigns are made by a lot of media intervention, confirming the victory of one candidate over the other, surveys, and statistics that most of the time are part of the marketing campaign. Even though, people don’t have a real impression that their vote could make the difference, the confusion and the deception actually made an immense gap of absenteeism on election’s day, which according to the Federal Election Commission numbers, it was 41.77% in the 2008 elections.
    I personally agree with Bonniejean’s last statement, and I would like to support the idea that the difference has to be made from the people and we can’t wait for a political change if we don’t participate in politics. We must vote!

    Source: http://www.fec.gov

  9. I personally feel that it is really hard to choose a candidate now a days because they are pretty much spelled out for you. One can choose democrat or republican and which ever you choose is going to fill the role of a democrat or republican like all those who came before him in the same political party. The people who run for president are really just trying to prove that one political party is better than the other. This creates countless elections where the focus is on guy proving the other is worse rather than someone who will try to fill all the needs of the nation in a cohesive way. In my opinion i don’t that we should have political parties in america, if we didn’t the election would be about which guy fits the role the best rather than which guy happens to prove the other one is not up to snuff.

  10. George Washington also felt the same way when he declared that political parties should never be formed, soon after his presidency. (this is part of my previous comment)

  11. I can easily agree with most of the comments on here that speak about how broken the two party system is. It is all too black and white, when politics itself is more grey. Innovation should be more sought after than it is. More time is focus on fighting than getting things done, and frankly it is ridiculous. Party loyalty should not be as big of a deal as it is. It feels like the party system really only creates hatred and fighting, which isn’t something we need more of in the world.

  12. The strict bipartisan nature of our politics has affected so many areas of our society; I agree that most of the socializing agents in our country condition us to believe we only have two options. My biggest issue with this way of thinking is that no persons’ ideas or beliefs – about politics, sexuality, etc. – can fit nicely into the strict outlines that are presented by only two choices. The bipartisan system cannot provide enough varying representation for the varying ideas and beliefs of its country; that is what I believe is one of the biggest problems with the system. Of course, this problem has no easy solution. No two people will have the exact same ideas and beliefs, and there cannot feasibly be a political party to encompass each individual’s respective thoughts. However, I think that a handful of varying options, given equal opportunity against the two major parties of our current system, would be a step in the right direction.

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