Is Our Political System Broken?

By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor

Is Our Political System Broken?

American values were at one time agreed upon and the glue that held our nation together. However, a new study reveals that we not only disagree about politics, we also have completely different values and ideas of what America should be.

As a result, Americans are picking sides and many times we don’t like what we see from those who don’t agree with us.

Today, people aren’t just taking their partisanship to the ballot box. They are taking it to work, places of worship, entertainment venues, and even to bed with them.

Study Confirms We are More Broken than Ever and Partisanship is the Cause

According to the study, nearly half the country (48%) believes the Republican Party has been taken over by racists, a view held by 80% of Democrats.

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Nationally, 44% of people believe the Democratic party has been taken over by socialists with 82% of Republicans sharing that opinion.

How can we be more opposed to one another and how do we unite?

Who wants to be called a racist or a socialist when they’re not?

Worse yet, how do we come together when there actually are those who are racists or socialists?

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Our politics are broken and partisanship is threatening the very institutions of government that made our republic strong.

Politicians and their advocates have turned our culture into “us versus them — we’re right and you’re wrong.” Therefore, the opposition must be defeated at all costs!

Are we, as conservatives, boxed into a corner and put in a position where we now must stand our ground?

How did we get here and is it too late?

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The Rise of Extreme Partisanship

Extreme partisanship is the main driver of our broken system.

Unfortunately, it started at the very beginning. In his farewell address to the nation, George Washington warned us that we would one day create a system that would divide instead of uniting us.

He was deeply concerned that future political fights would undermine the government and its institutions, and ultimately lead to corruption.

George Washington was right.

Since Richard Nixon, each president has been faced with growing challenges from the opposition party. Sometimes fairly and many times not fairly. The partisan trend really manifested itself during the Reagan years and has only intensified with every president since.

The partisanship has predominately been around the following issues:

  • Individual liberties
  • Taxation
  • Debt
  • Climate change
  • Terrorism and wars
  • Abortion
  • Religious rights
  • Healthcare
  • The 2nd Amendment
  • Free Speech

Who is right on these issues?

Liberals or conservatives?

Democrats or Republicans?

The Vicious Cycle

I would like to think the voters are right. However, voters are fickle and send mixed messages, mostly out of fear. Political messengers love to play into people’s fears because it motivates them to vote.

It’s a vicious cycle.

Take Obamacare as one example of many. In 2009, Democrats, on a 100% party-line vote in both the House and Senate, passed Obamacare. As a result, Republicans took over the House in 2010 on promises to overturn the massive overreach of government by liberal Democrats. In 2012, Obama wins re-election but Republicans also took over the Senate on the same promise of overturning Obamacare.

Still, nothing happens because neither side will compromise.

Then, 2016 happens and President Trump attempts to fulfill the previous promises of overturning Obamacare. Out of fear, there could be a backlash, Republicans cannot agree to fully repeal it.

The back and forth partisanship between liberals and conservatives combined with fear have driven the public anxiety and eroded a lack of trust in government.

The Role of the Educational System

Part of the blame can also be laid at the feet of the educational system. American history, civics, and basic economics are no longer emphasized in the public school system. There are numerous videos where young people cannot answer basic questions about the three branches of government. Or, they can’t remember who the first President of the United States was or explain simple supply versus demand.

Our system of government was founded on an informed and educated citizenry.

Without being informed, how are we going to make it as a country?

How could we possibly repair the damage being done to our country and the political process?

Instead of talking about ideas that work, politics has been reduced to soundbites and accusations wrapped in policy issues. “If you don’t believe this, you’re that…”

This systematic dumbing-down of America is destroying the country and our trust in one another when we reduce ideas to false demagoguery and fear for votes.

Did Our Leaders Fail Us or Did We Fail Ourselves?

Our leaders have failed us in education, government, and politics. But more than that, we have failed ourselves for allowing it to happen.

Yes, our political system may be broken beyond repair when people fall for the fake news dished out by the mainstream media, or don’t understand the fundamental differences and histories between capitalism and socialism. You cannot have liberty without capitalism. They build on one another. When one goes, the other follows.

How would you know that if you weren’t taught history, civics, and basic economics?

How To Repair Our Broken Politics

The only way to fix the broken system is for conservatives to get involved, but not just in politics.

We must live our conservatism as individuals.

We must demonstrate and prove that individual responsibility and living as a community instead of in isolation is what makes America unique and special. Not expensive big government programs.

Consider getting involved in mentoring a young person. If you have younger kids, show them your conservative values based on how you live so they will respect what you have to say later. If you have teenagers, talk with them about why conservatism is important as a practical matter in day-to-day life.

Help your neighbors, be respectful and kind to others even when you don’t agree with them.

When you see someone hurting, figure out how to get the community involved and help them. If you can’t help them, send them to organizations that can.

Don’t just assume the government will fix their problems. They won’t. In fact, they are likely to trap them into a deeper pit.

“Do” more than you talk.

Regarding liberals, you may not be able to change their worldview, but you can show them how conservatism is compassionate and develop respect with those even when we don’t agree with one another.

It’s Not Too Late!

There will always be “us versus them.”

There will always be people who believe they are right and you are wrong. That’s what makes America wonderful.

Yes, our political system is broken but it is not too late to repair it — yet. If we live our conservatism, we can show others how to repair the damage. In the process, we can win over many who don’t know what conservatism really is because they’ve never really seen it in action.

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