Ivan Natividad: The monopoly on political parties is the problem
Are we going to be OK?
It’s hard to say yes when observing the “My party is better than your party” back and forth that some people go through online when talking about politics.
Just a marathon of violent verbiage trickling from bloodlusted fingertips seeking to win by sending the souls of those who disagree with them into internet oblivion.
“They stopped typing … And I’m still typing. Did I win? Did I win? … Yea, I won.”
An ideological crime scene.
Division through digital tribalism — it’s a brave new world.
Five years ago, during my short time working as a reporter on the Hill, I would have to say it wasn’t that much different.
From the government shutdown of 2013, to the abundance of congressional filibusters, it was apparent that the cyclical push and pull for power between the two parties was still the old normal.
Votes over solutions. Money over policy. Party over country.
That’s Washington D.C. for ya.
And here we are now, and not much has changed.
Only now we’ve once again reverted away from focusing on policy, opting more to engulf our conversations with cultural issues.
“Is that guy kneeling during the national anthem? He’s disrespecting our country. He must be Antifa! Damn Democrats!”
Or, “That guy voted for Trump? He’s racist! He must be a Neo-Nazi! Damn Republicans!”
The parties have been generalized.
Part of that is due to the fact that Republicans and Democrats, focused so intently on maintaining their monopoly over political power, have turned a blind eye to these groups on the fringe to gain support from voters who fear or hate their counterparts.
The leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties have promoted an electorate that thinks in absolutes.
“She likes blue? Well, she must hate red! … Yea, and that rainbow is black and white too.”
If red is wrong, then blue is right. Right?
Well yeah, if you don’t want to give the other colors a chance.
The limited two-party political system has to take some of the blame for the current state of the electorate, as it has perpetuated the need for politicians to value political control over public service.
This monopoly over political clout makes it easier for money to filter in from special interests to sitting representatives and candidates, on both sides, willing to sell policy for a larger piece of pie.
The crumbs are left for us to sort out.
We’ve seen this happen time and time again, candidates from both major parties moving along the political spectrum to please a party’s donors.
With only two viable parties, one is always trying to take from the other in its desire for absolute power. This has forced the electorate to choose a side, or live in apathy.
“As long as I vote for the winner. Right?”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 40 percent of eligible voters in 2016 did not show up to the polls.
That’s 100 million people that were like, “Nah, I don’t like either side.”
Apathy in numbers.
So why not give those voters another choice?
“Oh you mean like those candidates that never get to participate in any of the major debates.”
“Well yeah, I kind of agree with (insert independent candidate here) on most things, but they have no chance of winning. I don’t want to waste my vote.”
Valid point. But if we, as in the electorate, don’t get serious about independent and third- or fourth-party candidates, quality public servants never will. They will all just turn into donkeys or elephants, when in actuality they may be an eagle, or a dragon … Or dare I say it — a unicorn?
“Well these candidates don’t have the money to stand up to the big players. So voting for them, again, would be a waste. I’ve got to vote for the lesser of two evils at this point.”
But in politics, votes are just as valuable as real currency. And do you want to be choosing between Voldemort and Darth Vader every single election? Or do you want to “vote your conscience” and see if we can get a Harry Potter or Luke Skywalker in the oval office?
All I’m saying is stop and think what you really believe in, instead of which party you tend to support. You don’t have to support everything these two parties do or stand for … You don’t … So don’t.
We have our own minds. We can disagree just as much as we can agree, respectfully.
The adulation we give to these two political parties is unwarranted.
We have to disengage from projecting our morals, ethics, and ideals onto them in order to convince ourselves to support them … To “pick a side.”
To put either party up on a pedestal does nothing but create a false sense of ideological confirmation.
They don’t know what you and your family are going through. Only you know. You know everything. We know everything, and we don’t need the Democrats or the Republicans to orchestrate our political talking points.
We need to talk to each other about the things that make us the same. The things that connect us, not the things that they want to divide us.
The two-party system was normalized over time through our own apathy. But as an electorate we can create a new normal, by taking other parties seriously, and dividing the political pie into as many pieces as we want.
Ivan Natividad is Digital Editor at The Union. To contact him call 530-477-4242 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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