Politicians, pundits, and even newscasters love the phrase “the tide is about to turn” in reference to a shift in the ruling political party. They used it on the eve of the 2000 presidential election, when the White House shifted from blue to red. It’s been repeated (and overused) in every election since 2006 when the Democrats took control in Congress, again in 2008 when the country chose “change” over “more of the same,” and in 2010, when Tea Partiers reigned and Republicans gained control of the House.
In 2012, I’m afraid that same phrase will be overused again. It’s used when Americans are unhappy, when gas prices and unemployment are too high, when our military is involved in hotly-contested wars, when our government is too big or not big enough. Unfortunately, the tide nowadays is tumultuous.
When we’re unhappy as a nation, we often return leadership back to the minority party. And over the past six years, it seems like we’re never happy with the majority party, so we vote to give the other side a try and hope for the best.
It makes me wonder if we’ll ever be happy as a nation again. I fully support the two-party system, ensuring that voices from all parts of the spectrum are heard. However, is this current trend sustainable? Can we afford to put power in a completely different ideological leader every two years? How will we ever grow if what matters to one leader doesn’t really matter to another? Are we forgoing compromise in favor of victory, only to realize that compromise is the solitary path to true victory as a nation?
The partisanship in modern politics is stifling. It mirrors the competitive nature of our nation, how we play to win, not to compromise. But what happens when our own stubbornness prevents us from achieving what the greatest nation in the world is meant to achieve?
The media is partially responsible for shift favoring extreme partisanship. They’ve been covering the GOP primary election for almost a year now, when the general election is still a year away. I mean, we still have a president. We still have a legislative agenda. Why is all of their (and consequently, our) attention focused GOP candidates rather than issues at hand?
We will never be successful apart until we are successful together. Our nation was founded on compromise — Jefferson and Hamilton certainly didn’t agree on all parts of the Constitution and our founding documents. Perhaps it is time for the tide to change — and that change should be to abandon partisanship in favor of compromise.