Political Issues

Molly - Graham, North Carolina
Entered on April 28, 2008

I believe we need to eliminate the two-party political system that gives us only two choices for president every four years either Democrat or Republican by creating too much gridlock in government when what we need to be focused on is solving problems.

In my political science class I’ve learned about the various political ideals and systems, from fascism to conservatism to liberalism. Through my teachings, I believe we should live in a world not of political labels and parties such as these, but of issues and belief systems. As I consider my options and prepare to vote for the first time, I realize that aligning myself with one political party does not represent how I want my voice to be heard. When I registered to vote two weeks ago, I found that I could not choose one party over the other. The answer for me is to consider the person and what he or she stands for, not the letter R or D that’s attached to the name on the ballot.

Of course I’m not the first person to ask why we can’t have candidates who run on their own merits without the Democratic or Republican label. In my conversations with voters my age and those from my parent’s generation, I’ve heard people express the wish that they could narrow their choices without considering the party. Why can’t we have a general election in November that is a choice between McCain and Romney or Clinton and Obama, if this is what the majority of Americans want?

Instead, we have a two party-system that requires months of primary elections where candidates with similar views resort to petty bickering until a winner is selected. All of the candidates say they want to debate ideas, but in the months leading up to the two political conventions, the competition inside the party takes us away from the issues. The result is that most voters are left exhausted, wishing it would all be over long before the first Tuesday in November. I believe that without the lengthy primary season, candidates would spend more of their time developing solutions to the enormous problems facing us today. Why do we spend time discussing what a minister said five years ago in a church service rather than finding real solutions to the economy, our nation’s security, and global problems such as hunger, AIDS, and dependence on foreign oil? Why debate who has the most experience when we could judge for ourselves if a candidate is qualified by the ideas and proposals that candidate introduces?

In school and in business, our teachers and managers emphasize the importance of teamwork. But what model do we see in the leaders of our country? We see that teamwork is discouraged, and political partisanship is the norm. Too often, when important votes are cast, members of Congress vote the party line rather than their conscience. It becomes difficult if not impossible for Republicans and Democrats to agree, and time and money are spent on compromises and amendments to bills – changes designed to make sure these elected officials remain in good standing with their party and get re-elected when the time comes.

I don’t believe our political system will change unless more people demand it. For now, I’ll do my part by registering as an Independent.