Opinion: The Failure of Modern Politics

Ava Gallagher

Political gridlock has left America more ailing than ever before.

With the current presidential race in full swing, it is easy to see just how wrong and broken our current political system is. No longer is politics about doing what is right for the people. No longer is it about serving our country and representing the masses. Instead, it has devolved into a game in which one furthers their own career while blocking the careers of people of the opposite party. The two-party system no longer supports our republic, nor does it exemplify democracy. It serves only to hinder American progress. In Congress, a bill proposed by Democrats will often get put down by the Republicans, because it would be “bad for their party’s reputation.” Concurrently, the same thing would happen with a Republican-proposed bill.

Even earlier this summer, Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) blocked the passing of Obama’s Farm Bill, which would have provided aid to farmers in the Midwest who have been subjected to terrible droughts in recent months. Instead of passing a law that was right for the people and the good of the country, Ryan vetoed it because it would have been bad for the stature of the Republicans. His thinking was surely, “If Obama passes this law, he will look like a hero to the general populace and his candidacy will only be aided in the coming months.” The same was seen from Democrats in the Bush Administration. This thought process sickens me. What happened to the ideals of the Founding Fathers, who believed in the John Locke-esque philosophy that government has an obligation to its citizens? These ideals have dissipated into the wind, as politics has become less about what you can bring to your people and more about what you can bring to your party.

According to a recent Gallup poll, only 1 in 10 Americans approve of the job Congress is doing. This statistic is alarming. If a Congress comprised of both parties cannot satisfy even half of the country, what good are they doing? At the basis of their ineptitude, and the ineptitude of the entire political system, is the two-party system. The country should not be divided on the basis of left or right. It should be divided on a basis of right or wrong. When issues come up, or when bills are proposed, they should not be evaluated on the basis of what party they originated from. They should be evaluated on how much good they will do for a suffering country.

Politics needs to become less about the individual politician, and more about the American people. At this point, the only clear resolution to follow is to get rid of the occupation “politician” and make it a volunteer-only position. By volunteering their time, a “politician” no longer has to worry about furthering their career or making the “right” choice for themselves. Instead, they can focus on making the right choice for the people. This is, after all, the purpose of government, to those of our readers who may have forgotten. And if you had forgotten, I can’t blame you in a time like this.