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Editorial: Why neither political party understands us (by JL Bach)

It’s become increasingly obvious that the two-party system is broken. Our country has become mired in one government gridlock after another, and all at the expense of the very people the congress was elected to represent and serve. Voters have reached a point of utter frustration with this process. It seems that one election after another, we look at the choices we have to vote for, and wish there was a “none of the above” button. Maybe we should just elect the best individual candidates from here on out, and drop this whole party-labeling business and the PAC money that comes with it.

One party-politic trait that seems to make this tendency towards gridlock worse is what happens after a candidate is elected. Either they conveniently forget their campaign promises, and the broad range of electable statements they made, or they get taken into the back room and told how it’s going to go from here on out. Because, soon enough, they tend to vote right down the party line, and a legislator that dares compromise gets labeled a party traitor.

Great things are accomplished through intelligent compromise. The art of deal making used to be something admired most about a politician. Now, “reaching across the aisle” happens so rarely it’s got a name and makes the news when it happens.

One of the greatest failings this current culture has is it does not recognize that the great majority of voters are neither rabidly conservative nor liberal, but moderates. They may lean one way or another, and they may even have some beliefs from both camps. But the percentage of the population that describes itself as either ultra-conservative or uber-liberal is minute, yet we have an entire elected body of officials that is scared to death to color outside the lines for fear of inflaming this fringe percentage of voters.

So to the Democrats I say; there is a difference between a hand-out and a helping hand. Get off the entitlement nipple. Make people make an effort for the assistance they receive. There is nothing wrong with picking up litter or scrubbing off graffiti to get an assistance check.  Yes, we should test Welfare recipients for drugs. It’s no more an invasion of their civil liberties than for anybody else that has to provide a urine sample. Every kid that goes out for track doesn’t deserve a medal or a ribbon. Sometimes last place is just that.  This country has to protect its borders from illegal immigration, that isn’t discrimination; it is law enforcement, no less, no more. Some of the social assistance programs are going to have to be cut for this country to survive, lest we find ourselves completely bankrupt and have to borrow from China to balance our books. Judges simply have to quit putting criminals back on the streets. We’re sick to death of the same people repeating the same crimes, and law enforcement professionals having to put themselves in harm’s way just so the judges can turn them loose.

And to the Republicans, I say; for a group that believes in small government, you sure love to pry into my life. God did not come from above and deem thou the most holy of all political parties, please quit mixing religion and politics. Corporations are not people, but gays are, where did we lose you on that one?  The ultra-rich don’t need another tax break, because they don’t need the one they’ve got now. Top tax rates in this country were once between 77% and 94%; they’re getting a real bargain now. Abortion is a necessary evil. Something has to contain the population on this planet. No other species practices birth control, but it’s a damn good thing this species does. Global warming is real, make no mistake. I guess when Wall St. is inundated by floodwaters you’ll believe me, but until then you won’t care. Trickle-down economics doesn’t work, as proven by the fact that the wealthy now control the greatest amount of wealth in our country’s history, and over 2500 families now live in Slab City, CA with no running water.

So is there a solution? I don’t have one simple answer. But maybe, we hold a freshman congressperson accountable to reach a minimum number of cross-party compromises in a legislative session. If they don’t, they lose office and the person with the second highest number of votes in their district gets the job.  It’s an open blog, tell me what you think. I just know that gridlock is a death sentence for economic recovery and the future of the country. And as long as we continue to elect politicians that think they answer to the smallest percentage of the voters, we’re in real trouble.  Something needs to change, and soon.

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