In the aftermath of the Senate voting to proceed with discussions about the Health Care Bill back in July, Senator John McCain (AZ) proclaimed that “[our discussions] are more partisan, more tribal more of the time than any other time I remember…they aren’t producing much for the American people.” Later, as the Senate was voting on legislation which would repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, which was projected to cut 15 million Americans off insurance by 2018, three Republican senators switched sides. These three senators (John McCain, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski) that switched sides caused the bill to be rejected 49-51. Rather than just sticking to their party, these senators did not believe that American Health Care Act was an effective alternative for the people they are representing.
In the United States, the partisan climate is not uncommon. Political parties have existed since 1787, and, really, the only president to hold office to not be affiliated with a party was George Washington. However, these parties are growing more and more polarized. According to a Pew Research Study in 2016, 91% of Republicans see the Democratic Party as being unfavorable. This is a rise from the 74% ‘unfavorable’ in 1994. Similarly, 86% of Democrats saw the Republican Party as being unfavorable in 2016. The era of Trump has been been renown for the striking split between parties. Rallies, protests, and even riots challenging his legitimacy have been going on ever since he stepped into office.
This polarization is also reflected in the Congress. Both the House of Representatives and Senate vote with their parties. Rather than discussing, compromising, and demonstrating a bipartisan effort, the party with the majority of seats ends up just passing policies that support their political views. Such behavior is against the intent of the representative and compromising nature of federal government.
We are so busy fighting amongst ourselves that progress has slowed significantly. Instead of shutting ourselves out to different perspectives, we should rather listen and work together to affect action. Although we may just be students and teenagers right now, soon we will all be able to vote. Thus, knowing and being aware of what is occurring around us is necessary for us to make these important decisions- it’s okay to vote off of party politics, but it’s more important to be aware and open to all perspectives.