Things to Lose in the New World – Volume II: Pointless Partisanship

Among other things, political partisanship has marred the past decade and then some. This hasn’t been simple “higher taxes versus lower taxes,” though that did factor in. No, instead the partisanship extended well beyond each party’s tenets and into plain obstructionism. It’s been disconcerting to watch as an American citizen over the last 10 years. To see some of these political fights take place is to watch two sides defending their idea to the death, with little to no compromise to speak of – I call this “pointless partisanship.”

            I won’t bore you with policy minutia, I won’t bore myself with that. But there are two enormous problems as I see them when it comes to pointless partisanship: ride-or-die party politics, and a lack of critical thinking. First, I should explain pointless partisanship. When I refer to pointless partisanship, I’m really referring to partisanship where it has no business being. And while I’ll cover this a little later in the piece, it’s important to recognize just what we’re dealing with. There are issues of great important, basic human rights issues, that have become so needlessly embattled and divisive. 

            It’s the ride-or-die aspect of party politics that has become so deranged in the last decade or so. It’s easy to attribute it to Donald Trump’s rhetoric, but it came before him, and in fact, lead to his election. I’ll leave it to historians to determine how it all began, but the result has been a dogmatic adherence to party lines and long-held traditions. Now, I’m pretty damn liberal, but I’m no dogmatist. I take everything with a grain of salt, I quietly observe and make a decision. But, when walls are put up around antiquated party values like venerating the bible as a tool of the law, we don’t stand a chance.

            Worse still, the ride-or-die mentality extends far beyond simple tenets of political party ideology. It’s become commonplace for politicians to vote only with their party, never breaking rank, in order to stifle political opposition at all turns. During President Trump’s term in office, we’ve seen republican political partisanship made manifest. Senators and congressmen competed to get in the mad boy king’s good graces, each outdoing the other in terms of just how “right” they could get. And they were rewarded in some way, although it was fleeting because President Trump is fickle and petty. Regardless, political partisanship has been used both as a cudgel and as a gift to the president – this has got to stop.

            Apart from the ride-or-die mentality, critical thinking has been seriously lacking. Issues that should never have been politicized like women’s rights and LGBTQ rights have become divisive beyond all measure. It’s as though the focus on them has driven many on the right even further into their dark delusions than ever before, favoring draconian measures and rollbacks of established law, as evidenced by the disappearance of women’s clinics all over the country. These issues are basic human rights and should be treated as such, and to politicize them is appalling, especially when millions of lives hinge on one side or another having the courage to break ranks and think critically. So much of this is a matter of ethics. Having clinics is ethical, taking care of people is ethical – exclusion and blind adherence to antiquated views couldn’t be less ethical.

            And so, we’re left with a broken political system. This is what needs to change. I’d love to believe that post-Trump we’ll see a return to civilized politics and politicians being able to think for themselves and their constituents, not their cronies. But, seeing just how many are willing to stump for the President and his baseless claims of election fraud, I don’t have a ton of hope that will happen in short order. Regardless, in the new world, we need to lose pointless partisanship.

Published by Christopher Goodlof

Writer, Visual Artist, Musician

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