Every election cycle I hear it. “I am so tired of politicians fighting, why can’t they just work together and do what is right for the country?” Right afterward, they sing kumbaya while watching Pollyanna. Of course, their friends agree. “You are SO right, we used to do things now it is toxic.” And so the myth gets perpetuated. Two myths actually and both are born out of naiveté and carried out by wishful thinking.
Myth 1: Both parties are evil in that they fight too much and don’t seem to get anything done.
Full disclosure, I am a partisan. I believe that both parties have issues. But, our two-party system is a natural byproduct of our constitution (the electoral college) so it is what it is. So, I am a work within the system kind of guy. That said, for all the reasons that both parties are non-sensical, them “fighting” aint one of them. Why? Because our system is designed to have necessary gridlock. It favors the minority party. For factual basis of this, take for example that prior to 1994 the Republicans had control of the House of Representatives exactly 2 years since 1945. They controlled the Senate for 10 years in that period with 6 of those in the 1980s. Even with this power vacuum, the GOP was able to push through civil rights legislation, stop universal health care, and stop a lot of wishful fantasy that was the Carter administration.
Gridlock is a feature not a flaw of our system. To treat it as a flaw is ridiculous. It is another fine example of why we are a constitutional republic and NOT a democracy.
The other reason why them fighting isn’t a bad thing is that the two parties have a very different vision for America. You have to look no further than the party platforms to see the prime examples:
Abortion on Demand Pro-Life
Federal government good Local control is best
Freeloaders welcome Capitalists welcome
We love unions We love fair employment practices
Gay Marriage rocks Form follows function: One Man One Woman = Awesome!
Fund planned parenthood Uh…no
Fund Acorn How about we not do that.
Gov education is supreme School choice and competition
Ok, so this list is snarky and I told you I was a partisan. But the bottom-line is that compromise on these issues is a lose for our country. Both sides feels this. Where would you compromise on abortion? Guarantee the left will fight you on any compromise you find acceptable. When it comes to funding Planned Abortionhood I want as much gridlock as humanly possible. Not to mention…when Congress isn’t passing laws…it aint screwing up.
Of course, the House of Representatives has passed tons of legislation that Harry Reid has placed in a closet. So, the Democrats are playing the obstructionists…this cycle. I don’t hate the game…I am working through November to change the players.
Myth #2 Why can’t they just do what is best for the country?
Because Democrats couldn’t find what is best for the country if they were locked in a storage closet with it. I kid I kid. The bottom line is that this thinking is the Polyanna in all of us. We like to believe that our fellow human beings are decent creatures who share are view of righteousness and goodness. But they aren’t. Humans are base. Government’s natural progression is always towards tyranny. Human beings natural progression is always towards anarchy. We have to find a balance. But that is my Biblical worldview. If you don’t feel that way, then you have a hard time understanding why someone has a philosophical core that wants to do things differently.
Higher taxes stifle an economy and LOWER government tax receipts.
Lower taxes spur an economy and lead to HIGHER government tax receipts.
This is my view on taxes. But if someone else believes the opposite, they have a complete different view of what is “best for the country.” During the Iraq debate, as an Iraqi veteran I asked. “Why won’t Dems do what is best for the country and support our military and support the Surge?” Which was silly, because if they felt it was best for the country they would. But generally they like to crap on defense spending while paying for the alcohol and strippers of a guy on food stamps in New Hampshire. That, to them, is what is best for the economy and the country.
The point is that bipartisanship is only available to the side who is willing to completely capitulate. No Child Left Behind was bipartisan because the White House capitulated and let Ted Kennedy help write the bill. The Patriot Act was bipartisan. The authorization to fight in Afghanistan AND Iraq was bipartisan. Bipartisanship can happen and it often does. But is usually happens at the cost of freedom, increasing government, raising our debt, and increasing taxes nowadays…which leads me to my main conclusion. We are losing the battle for what our politicians consider is “best for the country.”
That, my friend, is a whole other set of issues.