Time Out: The Team-Like Nature of Politics Needs To Stop
Suit-up kids. Today’s soccer game comes to us from Freedom Elementary School in the United States of America. The match will feature a fan favorite: the blue pinnies versus red. Pick a side and root for it. You cannot switch. You cannot root for neither. You must support your team no matter what happens. Even if the star player gets ejected for poor sportsmanship, you still have to guarantee your allegiance. You must villainize the opponent at all costs. Good luck to everyone; have a good game.
Welcome, everyone, to America circa 2017.
Surprised? I for sure am not. The pressure to pick a party and stick with it has been impressed on us since we were toddlers. From familial affiliations, to educational influence, to environmental socialization, everything we experience as young people prepares us to face this very public decision. When we do finally make that choice, we inadvertently distance ourselves from the “other”. You, via like-minded peers, are informed that the other party is the mortal enemy, ruining our great country at every step of the way. Such notions force you to believe that anyone who has a different opinion must be sinister, selfish, or just stupid. As we come into our political awareness, mouths open; hate is spewed. Among the things that die are love, logical thought, and the ability to truly hear and listen.
Democrats and Republicans are not supposed to like each other. They are not supposed to have drinks after work, discuss parenting methods, or support one another. They should not agree, have mutual friends, engage in similar political activities. And every four years, one team wins, and the other loses. Winners are “pompous and lack grace”, the losers are “cry-babies”. This political climate makes the American public look more like a 1st grade soccer game than an adult society. We all live in this country. We all want the nation and the individuals in it to succeed. We all want to chase our dreams. Why should we not work together?
The easy response is that one party is more rational, or are better people, or are concerned about more than the individual. The reality is not that simple. We cannot dismiss one another consistently, making the nation feel more like a school lunch table than a place where many different people are expected to live and grow. We have put so many other aspects of our lives on a non-binary spectrum; why does this not apply to political thought as well? There are more than two, overarching opinions and more than two stances on each issue. Americans, of all races/ethnicities, genders, sexualities, socioeconomic statuses, etc., need to be more open to thought-provoking dialogue and compromise. If we fail to do this, our country will only be polarized farther. It will be harder for the government to get anything done, and the American people will suffer. Enough is enough; it’s time for our soccer match to finally end in a tie.