Republican or Democrat? How about neither? As a campaign veteran, former president of my high school’s Young Democrats Club, and a Government and Political Studies Major, I know a little bit about American politics. Enough, at least, to know that after only one year of being a registered voter that I would like to relinquish my party affiliation. It is of my opinion that political parties, while useful in some ways, do more to hurt our democracy then help it.
Now, I am not making this case because I find myself in the center of the ideological spectrum. On the contrary, the Democratic Party would in theory be the perfect home for me. I am, for the most part, a social liberal. Universal Health Care? Desperately needed. Social Welfare Programs? Until America becomes a true meritocracy, they are necessary. Same-Sex Marriage? Yes. Death Penalty? No. I could go on, but I think I have made my main point clear: I could never be a Republican. That party works too hard against issues important to me. So why don’t I just stick with the Democratic Party?
The reason that I have become so disillusioned with the political franchises in power is that they have a tendency to work for the party, not the people. Members of Congress are elected to work for the best interests of their constituents, not the best interests of their party. When your political party and its leaders, the ones who provide funding for your reelection campaigns, are hounding you to toe the line and vote with the establishment, it must be difficult to think about the people who put you there to represent them in the first place.
A clear example of the hostility and immorality of political parties was highlighted last week when Senator Scott Brown, a recently elected Republican from Massachusetts, broke and voted with the Democrats on behalf of a jobs bill. Conservatives across the nation threw a fit, labeling Brown as a turncoat and a RINO (Republican In Name Only).
Many conservative radio hosts and commentators expressed their regret that he had ever been elected. These were the same people who, a month before, had been lauding his victory as the rebirth of the Republican Party. Now, he is receiving this sort treatment because he voted his conscious.
Unfortunately, this happens often in Washington. These men and women need to remember that they are not career politicians but public servants. Can you imagine how much more would get accomplished if we did away with Republicans and Democrats and instead conducted elections in a non-partisan fashion? Let candidates run on their names and ideas that reflect our best interests as a people, not a party platform.