Throughout every Presidential Election, there is a resurgence, rise, or even creation of new political parties with differing sets of beliefs. The participation and dedication in political parties, comes with it disdain for opposing parties, that in turn could result in personal attacks against those involved. Was this the original concept behind political parties? No.
America’s first political party, the Federalist Party was founded in 1789 by then Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton. The party advocated the ratification of our nation’s first constitution, along with endorsing a strong central government to have power over the states. This prompted Thomas Jefferson to establish the original Republican Party in the following years. Now known as Jefferson’s Democratic-Republicans, they fought against establishment of the federal bank and prefered for states to govern themselves with little interference from national government.
The purpose of both parties were to shape the foundation of government in ways which they saw as benefiting the citizens of the country the most. Unfortunately, the goals of political parties have taken such drastic changes that it has led to partisan fighting not only within the government, but within communities as well. Causing parties to shift focus from benefiting citizens, to only serving the interest of elite members in the party.
Too often, we see people personally offended by opposing political partisanship. Friendships end over taking sides with other political parties.
In a February 9 post, BBC News interviewed a group of young adults who identified as Republican, asking them how their peers reacted upon learning of their party affiliation.
“There’s this feeling of censorship almost, on the college campus” one of the girls relays. Though not everyone has the same perspective when it comes to discrimination of people based on their prefered political party.
Youtube personality and LGBT rights activist, Tyler Oakley responded to the BBC News post by tweeting “privilege is thinking being called racist/fascist/sexist is oppression, while not having to face actual effects of racism/fascism/sexism.”
Though discrimination against a person based on their political beliefs is not as drastic as racism against a marginalized community, it is still discrimination by every sense of the word. People like Tyler Oakley fail to see the sheep mentality that comes along with adopting a political view as an inherent trait. We refuse to acknowledge wrong doing against our political opponents if it means conflicting with our narrative. Just like Tyler Oakley, we sometimes even openly reject the notion that discrimination happens within our own party against another, just because it doesn’t align with our interpretation of “discrimination.”
Partisan fighting also takes affect when it comes to making decisions that require an absence of bias, as it affects citizens all over the country, regardless of political affiliation. For example, the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary.
We saw the Senate floor almost split when it came to voting in DeVos. The Washington Post reported, “The entire Democratic caucus of 48 senators voted against DeVos, as did two Republicans, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, who said they did not think that DeVos was qualified for the job. The remaining 50 Republicans voted for her, setting up a 50-50 tie that could be broken only with Pence’s vote.”
Given the almost unanimous vote that Democrats and Republicans casted on DeVos, it can be assumed that both parties are reluctant to compromise with each other, not because of differing opinions on DeVos’s qualifications, but solely based on party affiliation, as DeVos is a Republican. Mike Pence breaking the tie, in favor of DeVos, shouldn’t come as a surprise, being that he too, is a Republican.
In his iconic Farewell Address, President George Washington warned against political parties “because of their tendency to seek more power than other groups and to take revenge on political opponents.” He goes on to say, “One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts.” This couldn’t be more true when it comes to biased media sources.
This consequence causes members of political parties to take sides with media sources that lean toward their narrative. President Donald Trump stated in a February 15 tweet “The fake news media is going crazy with their conspiracy theories and blind hatred. MSNBC & CNN are unwatchable. FOX and Friends is great!”
Not only are the actions of our President favoring particular news sources while discounting others irresponsible, but it is a threat to our freedom of the press, as Trump is in one of the highest levels of influence in America.
In his tweet, he comes down on liberal and democratic news source, MSNBC, then praises conservative and republican oriented FOX. This is a clear bias, as he is advocating news sources that get behind his political party and push their agenda. Whether the agenda is true or false doesn’t matter, as long as it is sympathetic toward his party.
Gerrymandering is another partisan issue that would fade out with the dismantling of political parties. Gerrymandering is the drawing of legislative district boundary lines for the purpose of obtaining partisan advantage. A district is said to be gerrymandered when its shape is altered substantially to determine which party will win.
Gerrymandering occurs during the redistricting process that takes place after a new census is conducted. The state legislators who are elected during a census year, are the ones that re draw the districts to accommodate the changing population. The dominating party among state legislators, are the ones that have the advantage of reshaping the districts, allowing them to pack opposing party voters into as few and small districts as possible, thus disproportionating their representation. Various political and legal remedies have been used or proposed to diminish or prevent gerrymandering in the country, but none have been truly successful so far.
This is why we need to do away with political parties. They have grown from a preference toward a set of political ideas, to inherent beliefs that don’t change or evolve.
To remain neutral is to remain open minded. The only way to end partisan conflict, is to end partisanship all together. The resurgence, rise and creation of political parties, needs to turn into decline, downfall and destruction.