In case you haven’t been paying attention to the news, the federal government (or at least the “non-essential” parts of it) has been shut down.
What’s the cause of this shutdown? The simple technical answer is that Congress hasn’t approved a spending bill, so the government isn’t allowed to operate. The more important question is: Why did this happen? You’ll likely get a different answer depending on who you ask, but the underlying cause is that America’s two major political parties have been unable to cooperate. It’s gotten so bad that some Congressmen have basically admitted that they aren’t really interested in working together for the betterment of the country; They only care about getting their way.
Obviously, they weren’t paying attention when I wrote the first part of my Guide to Fixing America. So just in case any of them happen to stumble upon this site, I’ve decided to re-visit my plan to make our country better. I bring to you another edition of The Cutter’s Guide to Fixing America!
The Cutter’s Guide to Fixing America: Party Lines
Unlike that song that the kids enjoy so much, the line between Republicans and Democrats does not seem to be blurred at all. In fact, the line seems to be sharper and more defined than ever before.
If you’ve been to this site before, it isn’t a secret that I am a registered Democrat and am fairly liberal in my beliefs. But I make an effort to keep an open mind and at least try to understand where the other side is coming from. Sadly, that seems to be a relatively unique approach in politics.
In the past, I’ve advocated not relying on politicians to solve all our problems for us. Unfortunately, the problem isn’t just limited to politicians. Most of the population appears to be as divided as our elected leaders. Since there’s no better way to gauge the mindset of America, I took a quick look around the internet. Based on what I’ve seen, this is how Democrats and Republicans view each other.
Democratic opinion: Republicans are misogynistic WASPs who care only about helping the rich get richer.
Republican opinion: Democrats are bleeding-heart liberals who want to bankrupt this country by turning it into a socialist welfare state.
I think a large part of this problem is due to confirmation bias. People have an unfortunate tendency to only focus on news and opinions that agree with their own personal beliefs…as well as finding information that proves the other side is wrong.
If you’re a Republican, don’t you feel more secure in your beliefs every time you read a story about “welfare queens” who use food stamps while wearing Gucci shoes and talking on an iPhone? And don’t you raise your nose a little when you read a financial analyst denounce Obamacare?
And Democrats, don’t you get a sense of righteous indignation every time you come across a story about some big bank CEO getting a golden parachute? Or perhaps you’ve haughtily shared a clip of a republican politician making less than progressive comments.
When we read these stories, we become convinced that we are in the right and our opposition is in the wrong. And if that’s the case, then why bother to work with them or even respect their opinions?
I think that as a nation we can do – and should do – better than that. Why are we concentrating so much on the other side’s negatives? Why not try to find some common ground instead?
Let’s start with a few things that just about everyone in America can agree with:
- Bryan Cranston is an excellent actor.
- Recent seasons of The Simpsons haven’t been as good as the early seasons.
- Peyton Manning is good at quarterbacking.
Since I’m sure that most of you are nodding in approval, that means that we have indeed found common ground. Now we can move forward and try to further work through our differences.
If you’re a Republican, why not take a break from reading articles that declare Obamacare to be evil? If you’re a Democrat, you might want to diversify your reading and not just stick to sources that harp on how pro-business legislation is destroying the middle-class. And if you’re Senator Ted Cruz, then I ask that you simply stop doing anything, because you’re only making things worse.
If we take some time to see things from the other party’s perspective, we might actually start to understand each other better and be able to work together towards a common goal. Who knows? If we can change, maybe our political leaders will begin to follow suit. And if they don’t? Then perhaps it is time to vote in some new leaders who will.
If you enjoyed this, please feel free to check out previous posts from The Cutter’s Guide to Fixing America: