By Josh Fryfogle
Part and parcel with the destruction of nations, partisanism is always at fault. I choose the word partisanism, rather than the more prevalent term "partisanship", because partisanship makes it sound somehow noble.
I often tell people that I am a third party voter. It's my defiant stance for what I know is right. Or better yet, it's my defiance against what is wrong. I would vote for independent candidates, if they could get on the ballot, but the parties prevent that.
Partisanism is a strange suspension of personal beliefs. That is the fundamental and foundational flaw that other partisan problems are built upon. It is the first nail in the coffin of public interest. No one really agrees with every little thing a non-governmental entity, like a party, has to say! Maybe you agree with some, but not all of the platform and planks of political sophistry. That's how sophistry works. It appeals to a majority of the party members on a majority of issues - or they find another brand of sophisticated manipulation to believe in.
Political parties are not noble devices. They divide us politically. And they seem to focus on every other division and difference we have between us, none of which are nearly as divisive as the parties themselves.
Partisanism in our nation is a real dividing force, creating real consequence on policies that for the most part are ignored by the people. And when the media focuses on our partisan representatives, they talk only of emotionally divisive topics - telling us how divided we are on the issue, whatever it is. The media does their part - yellow journalism - to increase public interest in their product. Information is bought, repackaged, sold, repackaged, sold again, and all to the benefit of large companies who dominate as advertisers in all mediums of media.
It's a vicious circle, a snake eating it's tail, thinking its living while self-consuming. An informational deficit develops and people are corralled into one of the two major parties. We are truly divided by any number of differences, individuality being the first division. We are all born a minority of one. We feel a sense of self, which is in fact a sense of separation. It is a lonely state, spurring friendships and intimacy with others, yielding a mutually beneficial situation that turns inevitably into culture and society. Divisions like these are natural, and more so, biologically predetermined. We are separated by birth, and life itself. That feeling of loneliness drives us to join groups.
However, within politics, where policy is developed on a mass scale, the only divisions that really have effect are partisan divisions. Parties have effectively eliminated the individual from the political process, leaving the individual with no option to affect policy except by adding their voice to that of a political party. And that situation leaves a lot of people feeling helpless and without real recourse for their concerns - so they give up on politics. As for the other people who haven't been disenfranchised, they join forces with a party, compromise their individual birthright of thinking their own thoughts, and bypass their own true individualized ideas, for inclusion into a party. This seems to give them a feeling of effectiveness, while in fact diluting whatever is truly their own individual perspective.
Let's ask a question.
Do you truly believe and agree with every plank of the platform of your party?
You might not even know the platform of your party - the official, documented and stated position of that party. If that's the case, you can't honestly answer the above question. But, let's say you do know the platform of your party. Can you honestly agree with every facet? Every position?
I have never met anyone who agrees completely with their party. They usually just agree with the public relations done by that party more than the public relations of the other party. The two-party system is particularly disarming to the individual intellect. It is an illusion of choice, made under duress, usually characterized as the lesser of two evils.
Feeling patriotic yet?
Seriously though, patriotism and partisanism are fundamentally at odds. Most politicians, when pressed, will acknowledge that they are patriots first, and partisan second. And most people would call BS on them for doing so. I can't think of any politicians who actually put their country ahead of their party. The parties like loyalty. They don't support patriots, except that they are party loyalists. It's a sad reality, indeed.
The parties are the real division that we as people should identify as a danger to our nation. But the parties are quick to give us other divisions. Race, gender, gun rights, immigration, education, economic standing, the list just never ends. We are taught that we must overcome these divisions. Meanwhile, we are taught to believe that the two-party division is as fundamental as left and right. That the two-party situation is the only way to be. It is given to us as a foregone conclusion, not to be questioned.
And then we complain that we are given bad candidates. We bemoan our choices in elections, and completely ignore the two-party source of candidates. The media runs defense by ignoring any other candidates, and the parties engage the voters who they haven't disenfranchised to argue amongst themselves about anything but the two-party system. The media and the parties work together to publicly shame any candidate from any other party, effectively silencing any opposition to the two-party paradigm. And then, just to make sure, the media and the losing party blame the third party candidates for the outcome. It's an amazing display of power and control over the people.
Now I am not advocating for any one of the other parties that are established. Honestly, I would rather see a non-partisan reality, where the public engages their individual perspectives into the conversation. But the third parties are the current manifestation of that effort, although flawed in their own partisanism.
If you are a partisan party person, well, it is certainly your right to sell out your true beliefs to feel included in a group. It staves off the feelings of separation and loneliness of life after the womb. It's only human. But I look forward to a world where technology dismantles this unfortunate situation, and where politics actually serves the people, rather than people serving partisanism. Our nation was founded on individual rights, after all.