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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Stalemate: Why Nothing Ever Gets Done

Many people argue and bicker about where they stand politically. Democrat or republican is a common answer.

A growing trend in America is that many citizens are beyond fed up with both parties,   and now identify themselves as independents or “unaffiliated.”

It is  clear that many Americans are out of touch with the current political climate in America. An opinion piece printed in the Stony Brook Press on Feb. 24 written by Brent Neenan, claims that one party should hold all of the power and intentionally not engage or compromise with the other.

I’m just a writer, but doesn’t that sound like a dictatorship? Does he not realize that the framework of our system was created to promote not smother compromise and debate?

Our country is labeled a Democratic Republic, not a Parliamentary Democracy.  Neenan however seems to believe that we should be more like a Parliament and not a Congress. Traditionally, the parlimentary system has included strong party divisions and has major parties refusing to acknowledge the intentions of the others.

The executive branch was designed under a system that includes checks and balances. When the White House disagrees on something with another branch there is debate until a solution is reached.

This idea extends to Congress as well, that debate and conversation leads to a better outcome. This  is   a fundamental ideal of the American system. However, true progress only occurs if the parties are willing to stop squabbling  with each other and beging listening to what the people want.

George Washington worried about political parties becoming too influential in American politics. It can be argued that he  was correct. Parties alienate people and distract the population from getting what they truly need. They begin to put the parties’ desires and agendas first over their constituents. Many years later, it turns out Washington was right, and political parties   grow more out of touch with the American people each passing day.

We elect them to represent us not argue constantly  about their personal pet projects and agendas.

While Neenan believes  that the current broken system should go unchecked, I strongly disagree. For example, many Americans don’t want the current version of the health care bill, we all believe that everyone should have health care  but  a lot of Americans oppose the way that the current administration and Congress is proceeding with health care.

This is evident if we look at Massachusetts. A state that has historically voted democrats into office put a  republican into office when Sen. Ted Kennedy passed away. This offset the supermajority in place and forced more debate on the topic.

Neenan seems to believe a party should simply strongarm its agenda through Congress and ignore any opposition. They feel that we shouldn’t sit down and talk about things to create a better bill.

According to Neenan’s article the conversation between parties leads to a “watered down” bill.  This same article states that anyone who believes the government should have a common purpose in mind is  a “fascist.”

He seems to miss the point  that Americans generally are fed up with the government and the way  they always get locked in a stalemate. This health care bill proposed by the democrats omits a lot of the things that republicans feel are important, instead of deadlocking, they should scrap it, talk it over, and decide on something both the parties and their constituents can feel a part of.

Here’s a wake up call: not only did George Washington oppose a government where the power all resided in one party, he believed the opposite, that the people should have the majority of power in government. We are realizing today how destructive our system has become.

When there is no cooperation about a topic, it means that one party simply has to have more senators and in a sense creates a dictatorship that can streamline any bill to whatever they please despite the concern of the opposition.

Americans didn’t want parties to be this influential 300 years ago and still don’t want it currently. Democrats and republicans are both guilty of falling into this mindset. Republicans were guilty of being too influencial in leading us into the Iraq War, and democrats are guilty with health care. What is so hard about listening to the people you’re representing?

It is important for us to continue to be the best country that we can be, this includes listening to the people and giving the people what they want. Though conflicts may arise, it is good to keep an open mind and more importantly accomplish things.

A person who cannot appreciate and understand what his political opponents want is in no position to be in Congress. This definition just happens to include a lot of our current senators.

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