It’s no secret that our political climate at the moment is one of the most intense it has ever been in U.S. history. The American People have become hyper attached to their individual political identity: a Republican or a Democrat. This is not abnormal, as we all like to be surrounded by like minded people. However, today this tendency has become almost cult-like, eliminating one’s ability to think freely and question their political beliefs. Civil political discourse has vanished, and taking its place is an ideological war, with the winner aspiring to be proclaimed “correct” among a widespread mash-up of values.
We can only end this conflict by reshaping the manner in which Americans form their opinions. Specifically, our people must return to a society where, instead of letting a party choose our principles, individuals choose their own values. In order to achieve this ideal, we must allow for reasonable dialogue between opposing viewpoints to learn from the other side instead of egotistically degrading the other side as immoral. The day we pledge loyalty to a civil mindset of free thinking- rather than pledging our loyalty to a cult disguised as a political party- is the day we can return to the free thinking society we once had. In the past, Republicans and Democrats didn’t encompass a broad checklist of values, but instead advocated for a few core values, as well as broader philosophical thinking. This permitted people to think of a candidate based on their policies rather than the letter next to their name. If we return to the beneficial ways of free thinking, the success we can achieve is immeasurable.
An example of the need for bipartisanship is demonstrated in the debate over gun control. As much as we talk about ending mass shootings and gun violence, both still happen. They occur because we are stuck in a gridlock on the issue, with each side too focused on getting everything done its way. Because Americans are so split on the issue of gun control, the only way to get something done is to compromise. Without some sort of compromise and bipartisanship, the future of this issue and many others seems unsolvable.
It is not only ordinary citizens who must abandon excessive devotion to one’s party and engage in the basic practice of self examination. Politicians today are only tools to enforce the cultish ideals of the Democratic or Republican party platforms, instead of their individual priorities or those of their constituents. Politicians are elected because of their connection to their people, their experience and their credibility. Not one of these characteristics are utilized when an elected official simply defaults to every policy and belief instilled by his or her political party. Politicians should use their knowledge and understanding to make the best decisions, not the ones that partisan ideology forces the politician to make. After all, when a politician is just acting on policies because his or her political party says so, he or she will not put effort into fighting for their values as much because they are not the values he or she truly holds. It is nearly impossible to fight for something on a daily basis you do not believe in, and it is something we see renowned politicians doing every single day.
One cannot be considered politically knowledgeable when he or she only knows half of the story. Don’t just listen to one point of view, rather educate yourself on both points of view by say watching CNN and Fox News. It is healthy to question your own views and change them. In order to achieve progress we must unite together as Americans under the common good of equality, respect, integrity and freedom, and think for ourselves freely as individuals.