The Party (System) Is Over, Folks

Republicans, Democrats be damned: American voting needs revamping



Please, no more parties in the USA.


The American system of voting, whether we care to admit it or not, is lying to us. To say that the way to achieve our political dreams and to create the differences we want to see in this country is as simple as exercising our right to vote is laughable at best.

The truth is, we don’t live in a meritocracy. Politicians are not voted for based on whether or not they are well-suited for a given position, but instead whether they have an elephant or a donkey pinned to their name. We are told we are voting to create a government “for the people by the people.” In reality, we are getting half of the representative truth folded into a web of systematically placed lies. Political parties have divided our country and essentially ruined the fairness of the democratic election process.

Moreover, the electoral college exists as nothing more than a solidified and legal roadblock to the result of the popular vote: the honest voting results that should, but don’t, count. With a conglomerate of legal systems placed regionally throughout the country through gerrymandering, all the way up to the corrupted loopholes that exist within the power of elected government officials in Washington D.C., the problem is clearly systematic, but it is one that could start with the abolition of political parties.

Think about our country at this very moment. Almost no one will argue against one painfully ironic thing: we are a divided country, and this division is ruining us. Our division, at its foundation, comes from the culture of extremism we’ve cultivated around “choosing sides,” its roots taking place way back in the beginning of America’s governmental history with the formation of political parties.

We have almost all been taught how George Washington forewarned us of the dangers of political parties and that such practice would ultimately lead to the destruction of our country. So why didn’t we listen to him? Although not all of the concepts initially laid out in our constitution, or the ideals our founding fathers have preached, have stood the test of time (or have been necessarily wise from the get-go), it seems that George Washington’s message has been nothing less than true. We are a deeply divided country with a masochistic love for choosing sides.

The problem with political parties is that they leave no room for an alternative. It’s either candidate/platform/measure “A” or “B.” If we as a country were to choose policy based on individual choices as opposed to “picking sides” and aligning oneself with a platform that only offers a fraction of what one actually wants, decisions would be made more rationally by getting everyone’s take and opinion, as opposed to choosing between two drastically different choices. There’s no room for a grey area in modern party politics, which is why it will never leave the majority satisfied.

Considering the political differences in the campuses at Fordham University is a perfect example of our division. Lincoln Center is notably liberal, and Rose Hill is notably less so. Anyone who has visited both campuses can sense the differences in political leanings. These differences are clear not just in individual students, but in professors, alumni and the atmosphere itself.

These differences, although possibly not as divided as our country as a whole, are notable because of the way students perceive individuals at the opposite campus. “Rose Hill is full of Republican frat boys” or “Lincoln Center is where the artsy agender snowflakes reside.” Both equally unfair generalizations, but both true representations of the way flippant college students at Fordham University discuss their school and campus counterparts.

This choosing of sides is dividing our own university. It affects us all the way up to nationwide presidential elections down to who we choose to associate with at our own school. How then, can we truly have shared school spirit? Love for the fellow man? “Men and women for and with others” is Fordham’s mantra and it shouldn’t be used in vain. When we care for the other person, the whole person, we must look beyond our differences in political agenda. At the end of the day, what bonds us and brings us closer is our being human. There’s no winning when we pit man against fellow man.

Empathy for others should be the way we look at and dictate policy. At a bare minimum, there needs to be respect and tolerance for another person’s political views, both at Fordham and in the United States. What makes those actions harder or near impossible are when we are clouded by the view of a human labeled by either “Republican” or “Democrat.”

This egotistical and seemingly American condition of my way vs their way is toxic and will never provide credible solutions to actual problems. In a country that glorifies individualism, strict dualism shouldn’t exist. Individuals should make their own decisions on their own terms. Even if voters are completely uninformed and vote a specific way, this is still significantly more fair and worthwhile than pitting one team against another team when either side only offers a strict list of policy.

The way Americans rally on their side of a given political party is comparable to the way ancient Roman citizens championed blood sports. It’s a juvenile and needlessly competitive way of dealing with highly important matters. Whereas sports are more trivial, and therefore such stringent side-choosing behavior is acceptable, the lives of millions upon millions of people are at stake with each election.

It’s time that political parties are abolished to make way for the next American Revolution: one of enlightenment, forethought and empathy. Of course many people will still have headstrong opinions about many different issues, but eliminating parties would at least reinforce individuals’ opinions and hopefully, for future generations, create smarter and more inclusive policy making.