I suppose it’s easier to be pleased by your party if you’re a Republican because they don’t bother reaching across the aisle for policy advice. Though, I have heard of lifelong Republicans vowing to vote for Obama because the GOP senators and representatives have been absolutely reprehensible in their quest to stall efforts of their opponents to get anything done. As one of them put it, their only goal is to put the President out of a job.
What is a political party anyways? In theory, it is an organization of politicians who espouse a common ideology, but, in practice, it’s really just become a label for a group of people who seek power for the sake of power. That is to say that the most apparent use of a political party in US politics is to acquire influence on an individual level, not actually moving society forward along the guidelines of an overarching ideology. As a congressman, when you’re more concerned with who is president than the content of the actual bills you’re being asked to consider, it’s clear that you’re no longer a servant of the public and that you merely use the public’s uninformed consent to remain in power.
This might sound like an indictment of the Republicans in question, but the same goes for Democrats. All of the actions of the President that I pointed out in the beginning of this piece are purely upholding the status quo established by lines of politicians who are long out of power. If the Dems are indeed guided by an ideology, you might think it would be a bit more progressive than merely opening their mouths to mumble the verses of the the civil rights revolutions of decades past (I’m talking about abortion, won in the 70’s, and gay rights). Meanwhile, they sit by and do nothing while prisoners are held indefinitely without charge or trial, citizens are being spied on without warrants, people are being sent to jail for using a harmless drug, and the information revolution is being held at bay by out-of-date business models.
This brings me to the biggest tell in terms of the Democratic bluff that President Obama is putting up: Obamacare. In the 2008 election, I was opposed to Hillary Clinton running for President because I felt like she was more influenced by corporations with money than the supposedly Liberal ideology of the Democratic party. Obama showed me that it takes all kinds. Obamacare is one large payout to insurance companies. Sure, they make you think that they’re walking all over the companies by requiring them to cover pre-existing conditions, but the real money comes in the mandatory enrollment for everyone.
There was nothing revolutionary about what Obama did. Richard Nixon wanted to establish a universal health care system -- that would have been revolutionary. Lining up a payday for the same companies that are responsible for our terrible, inhumane, private health care “system” (if you want to call it one) is just another status quo politician move. The very fact that Obamacare was influenced by Mitt Romney, Obama’s current opponent in the Presidential race, should tell you all you need to know about that.
Speaking of Mitt Romney, I’d like to call attention to the very worst part of the partisan power struggle. Mixed in with all of these terrible ideas to fix the country’s economy are terrible ideas in human rights. And these things are packaged together because the Republicans don’t care about ideology any more than Democrats do. What they’re doing is trying to corner two markets: the fiscal conservatives and the social conservatives, even if the two don’t overlap.
Pulitzer-winning playwright Doug Wright wraps up my sentiments most beautifully:
I wish my moderate Republican friends would simply be honest. They all say they’re voting for Romney because of his economic policies (tenuous and ill-formed as they are), and that they disagree with him on gay rights. Fine. Then look me in the eye, speak with a level clear voice, and say, “My taxes and take-home pay mean more than your fundamental civil rights, the sanctity of your marriage, your right to visit an ailing spouse in the hospital, your dignity as a citizen of this country, your healthcare, your right to inherit, the mental welfare and emotional well-being of your youth, and your very personhood.”
It is very sad that, in this country, we are forced to choose between the lesser of two evils because our democracy is not set up to enable representation of the minority, never allowing it to gain traction. I have the luxury of living in a state that is already firmly decided on what candidate it will give its electoral votes to, so I will be casting my vote for a third party that better fits my political views. Unfortunately, if you are living in a swing state, but harbor the same feelings I do toward partisan politics, you’ll be casting your vote for the lesser evil, but evil none the less.