Compromise among political parties is no longer an option

Compromise.  A word that will get a politician ostracized by his or her own party and reduce the incumbent to a memory. Democrats and Republicans have been reduced to taking this hardline approach, no matter what the consequence.  Only right and wrong exist.

Modern polarization between political ideologies has been in the works since the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore.  The American economy was strong, and a rejuvenated belief in Reaganomics was taking hold.  Then the stock market crashed.  Inflation increased, prices went up and jobs were lost.  Many believed the government was to blame for failing to mitigate the damages.  Some blamed the government for over-regulating — others blamed a lack of regulation.

This shift in ideology became evermore apparent in the 2004 election between George W. Bush and John Kerry.  The left and right took their sides. Inflation was still rampant, government spending was up and the government’s debt was increasing beyond belief.  The hot button issues: military spending, government employee’s benefits, and most of all, a nonexistent job market.  Two solutions emerged: give the wealthy tax breaks so they will spend more on creating jobs and expanding business, or increase taxes on the wealthy and “redistribute the wealth.”  As time went on, people became increasingly infuriated with the lagging economy.  Then the 2008 elections came.

With an increasingly volatile public, religion became the new hot button issue.  The strong-willed religious right-winged ideology, which was funded by some of the wealthiest individuals in the nation, became mainstream.  Issues involving the economy seemed to take a backseat to religious mudslinging.  Christian morality was the new standard for Republican policies, and Democrat policies became actions by heretics.

Compromise was no longer an option.  One of the oldest and most conservative Congresses took office and vowed to block any Democrat-endorsed legislation.  Likewise, Democrats have vowed to block any Republican legislation.  What was once hailed as the greatest government system in the world has become an arena for an elementary school yelling match.  Arguments on both sides are no longer founded in reason or fact. They are about who can yell the loudest.

Congress as a whole seems oblivious to the ramifications of its inability to play nice, and the average American is paying the price.  Other nations are laughing.  We are no longer the pinnacle of progress and freedom — we are the embodiment of idiocracy.  Our society is falling further behind in education, health and general standard of living.  Our youngest generation’s needs are being neglected.  Our middle class is faltering.  Our oldest generation is being forgotten.

What is more important than the youngest generation, the middle class and the oldest generation?  Party affiliation.   Politicians who are worried about keeping face on party lines and standing firm against the opposition, no matter the price.

The price is our future.  Our kids, our jobs, our society, our freedom. These are all at stake because compromise is no longer an option.

Chris Plaunt
second-year law student from Waukesha, Wis.

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