A painful game called "party politics’
In today’s paper, Gary Lindstrom makes a good point about establishing your own political beliefs rather than simply toeing the party line. We feel comfortable saying this knowing we do not always agree with the columnist’s actions in his role as a county commissioner. But when he makes sense, we don’t want to slight him simply because we disagreed on other issues.
Party politics and the “strategies” it engenders are some of the greatest evils of our political system today. As is too often the case, allegiance to one’s party takes precedence over making the right choice (even if that trend has softened somewhat since Lindstrom was a lad).
One of the most offensive titles we can think of today is “political strategist.” The notion that politics should be based on strategies rather than an honest representation of the candidates or the issues is counter to the principals on which this country was, theoretically, founded.
We witnessed one such stratagem in this year’s state legislative session – or so say the Democrats. To hear the Dems tell it, the Republicans waited until the last few days of the session to introduce their redistricting bill, knowing the Democrats wouldn’t have time to craft a viable alternative – and knowing that with their Republican majority, they could undoubtedly push the bill through, securing a future Republican stronghold in several of their newly created districts.
We don’t think this “strategizing” or emphasis on party politics serves the people. It only polarizes our government and communities, and that serves no one.
Whether we’re talking about an individual voting in an election or an elected official serving in public office, we’d much rather see people evaluate the pros and cons of any issue on their own without muddying the waters with party politics.
Often, we see Republicans build their platforms based on economic planning (even if those plans aren’t sound). Democrats, however, often play the part of societal conscience (even if that makes them bleeding liberals).
Where these two platforms intersect, we should see cooperation. We should recognize how helping the homeless, the tired, the poor huddled masses can benefit us all.
For example, the affluent benefit by subsidizing some types of medical care for the poor because it helps prevent the spread of contagious – sometimes lethal – diseases. Carry the logic a little further, and subsidizing preventive care for the less-fortunate can preempt society’s having to pay for costly medical care further down the road. (Our Republican governor recently eliminated a requirement for health insurers to offer preventive care such as mammograms and prostate screenings.)
In the end, taking sides with one party or another, whether it be green, libertine, asinine or elephantine, is just plain lazy.
Take the time to learn the issues. Listen to all sides and evaluate the information yourself. Always consider the source – oftentimes, facts can be distorted. Armed with the invaluable weapon of information, you can weigh all the facts and nuances and decide where you stand.
Above all, think for yourself. That means not letting politicians or parents or, especially, anyone on the opinion pages of a newspaper dictate your final judgment.
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