Eighteen-year-old Ottawa, Canada native and now freshman at Hawai`i Pacific University, Michelle Mann-Saumier has written a short piece outlining the problems with the two-party system. I figured that since some of our local media folks are having so much trouble understanding how Democracy is supposed to work, I’d reprint her essay here and let a college freshman explain it. Michelle moved to Washington County when she was nine.
There are many things about the United States government that are easily criticized; the healthcare system, war, and taxation are all very good examples of controversial issues in political society today. Although each of these topics exemplifies what is wrong with the government, the two-party system is the apex of a failing political machine. This machine is corrupt and misleading and has made the American people ignorant. The two-party Democrat and Republican system is wrong because it is destructive to the democratic ideals that the United States was built on and neglects the welfare of the citizens. The two-party system employs candidates who are driven primarily by special interest groups and lobbyists, smothers all possibilities for other parties in the voting process, and will eventually lead to a dictatorship-like one party system, all of which will demolish democracy in the U.S.
The primary negative characteristic of the two-party arrangement is that it has evolved into a system that exists solely to support special interest groups and lobbyists who do not hold the welfare of the people in high regard. The Republican and Democrat Parties are well-known for choosing big business and oil companies over the American people in congressional history. The Bush administration repeatedly turned down proposals to tax the oil companies during a time of petroleum prosperity, while Bill Clinton sold out to the healthcare industry multiple times at the expense of the American people during the nineties. Not to say that a candidate running for office should not have certain motives and groups of interest that they support; the real issue is whether or not they are going to support the groups that employ the best standards for American success and well-being. Wal-Mart and Exxon-Mobil are not the types of businesses that support these ideals but are very popular throughout the two-party Congress. The two parties nominate candidates who are unconcerned with serving the people; unless, of course, those people are signing the checks every month to ensure that their corporate stocks are strong.
Barack Obama, presidential hopeful for the 2008 campaign, has reportedly received large campaign funds and endorsements from major insurance companies who recently faced a cataclysmic economic crash that had the country in a panic. Coincidentally, Obama voted for a federally funded corporate bailout of these companies. Giving billions of dollars to agencies that already receive ludicrous tax breaks and federal monetary support would seem a little insane to the average human. After recognizing that Obama was funded by these companies, it makes perfect sense that he would bail them out. One might ask why a company that already receives special federal treatment deserves a bailout when there are several other important issues that need funding. Major corporations do not deserve the money and the American people do not deserve this type of mistreatment. These decisions are being made by chosen officials from one of the two parties and the relationships that those officials have with big business and major corporations. However, it is the American people who elect these officials into office and therefore are contributing to the country’s demise.
The second damaging characteristic of the two-party system is that the Democrat and Republican parties have monopolized the voting process and make it impossible for other parties/candidates with a wider range of views to have a stand in the elections. Many Americans believe that either a Democrat or Republican will win the presidency or seat in the Senate regardless of any other party’s candidates. If one does not believe in either of the two candidates, he or she is practically forced to withdraw from voting because there simply is no other option. In reality, this is not true and there are several other parties in addition to the two previously stated that are trying to make themselves known in society today. The U.S. was built on democratic ideals that give the power to the people in a free electoral system. One can infer that a free electoral system would allow for the voters to be fully exposed to all options made available to them in every single election. Anything that compromises this privilege to the citizens of the United States is violating the constitutional values that used to make this country so respectable.
Why is it that Ralph Nader, candidate for President from the Independent Party, has been denied entry several times into the political debates despite the fact that he is on the voting ballots in forty-five states? The Republican and Democrat parties do not want the citizens knowing that they have other options in addition to the salt and pepper standards that have been handed to them. A little paprika would not hurt anyone and is almost guaranteed to make the citizens happy (remember Perot?). If the American people were even aware that they could actually vote for someone who held the same values as they do, they would be shocked at how the principles of democracy have been sacrificed for corruption. This lack of knowledge just further empowers the damaging capabilities of the two-party system.
Finally if one of the two parties becomes weaker than the other, there is the potential for the American government becoming one-party dominant. This is essentially the same thing that happened when the Democrat and Republican parties overthrew the other parties over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The parties competing against the Republican and Democrats were not resorting to lobbyists or strong business corporations for monetary support and campaigning purposes and eventually lost the power to run in the elections. If the United States becomes a one-party dominant system, the country will have finally reached the zenith of governmental corruption. Congress, if it even exists anymore at that point, will most likely attempt to distract the citizens by holding elections between two candidates from the same party. Doing so would be completely ineffective and pointless, but if the American people can fall for this two-party system, then Congress can definitely divert the citizen’s attention for a few more years. It is only a matter of time before one of the two parties surpasses the other in strength, money and ultimately, power.
Some might argue that the two-party system works because it is stable and predictable. Besides the fact that this statement is completely false and a product of the brainwashing mechanisms used by the current administration, predictability is not something the American people need. When the citizens become less ignorant and realize that they have been swindled into thinking that they are being fairly represented, there will no longer be any ‘stability’. If the kind of stability these adversaries are talking about is the kind that is built upon lies and half-truths, then the elected dictatorship that exists now is more stable than anything before. In order to achieve stability, the people of the United States need to have their blindfolds removed and given the chance to explore other possibilities for the future of their country before the wobbly foundation they are standing on crumbles.
It is apparent that the system today is flawed beyond comprehension and is corrupt in several different ways. Perhaps the biggest issue with the ‘Republicrat’ regime today is that it is functioning at the expense of the hard-working people of the United States and is plainly doing them an injustice by not offering them what was promised: Democracy. The citizens do not realize that they could have more options that would provide for a strong government with ideals based on popular opinion instead of one-sided and selfish principles. The United States needs to lose two-party politics and open the door to the possibility of an elected president that is actually wanted by the people. Once this democracy has been restored, the country will flourish, the people will finally be satisfied, and the nation can move forward in a positive direction as one unit. The country simply cannot handle another president that was elected because the voter felt limited in their selection and made the decision based on the lesser of two evils.