Party Loyalty Is Destroying America
Politics shouldn’t be about winning and beating the other side
People who love sports will often use phrases like “We beat them!” or “We won!” when talking about an opposing team. Except they always use the wrong pronoun. It’s not we; it’s they. You’re not on the team, so therefore you didn’t win anything. Nor does the team actually care about you, unless of course you’re buying tickets to see their games or buying their merchandise.
In America, politics has taken on this form of a team sport. The Republicans vs. the Democrats. Talk about a rivalry! Folks from either side can barely stand one another at this point. In fact, the rivalry has gotten so out of hand that some people legitimately talk about a second civil war breaking out.
Overdramatic as that might be, polarization has undoubtedly reached a fever pitch in this country. Some blame social media for creating digital echo chambers for ourselves and promoting radicalization. Others blame election meddling from other countries intended to sow chaos and discord.
But I think a big part of the problem is ourselves and how we treat politics in the first place. Instead of holding politicians accountable regardless of whether they’re on your “team” or not, many people exercise selective accountability that only applies to the opposing team.
The dangers of selective accountability and blind loyalty
To all the Trump supporters out there, did you hold Trump accountable when he broke his campaign promises and filled the swamp even fuller with the people you supposedly despise?
To all the Biden supporters out there cheering and jumping for joy, will you hold Biden accountable on day one of his presidency? Or will you go back to sleep and turn a blind eye for the next four years as you did during Obama’s presidency?
If you’re gleeful that Trump will no longer be in power, but not willing to reconcile with how he obtained that power in the first place, then you’re part of the problem.
It is this lack of accountability that allows politicians to get away with doing terrible things from the Obama administration building “cages” for migrants to the Trump administration using those cages to detain migrant children. If more of their own supporters actually held them accountable rather than treat them like gods or infallible figures, then perhaps they’d feel more pressure to act in the best interests of the people.
Blind loyalty will gain you nothing. George Carlin said it best, “It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it!” Just like those sports teams, most politicians don’t actually care about you. They care so long as you keep that money flowing into their campaign coffers, which is why they’re much more likely to listen to their rich donors than you.
Not only will blind loyalty not gain you anything, it’ll most likely make your life worse in the long run along with the rest of us. Do we really want to live in a country completely unable to make progress in addressing the many issues we face due to constant partisan gridlock? If that happens, issues like climate change and wealth inequality will continue to spiral out of control.
America’s political system is increasingly becoming ineffectual due to this partisan gridlock. People will eventually give up on politics altogether or demand a new system entirely if this can’t be remedied.
We can help reverse this trend by ending the unwavering fealty to either party and being critical regardless of who is in power.
Apply pressure to both parties and make them accountable
Enough with the demonization of other Americans based on arbitrary labels when the majority of us agree on the things that really matter and the policies that can help improve our lives.
Enough with the grandstanding of calling yourself a Democrat or a Republican as if that makes you better than the other side.
Enough with the utter hypocrisy of vehemently calling out the other party for doing terrible things while your own party does equally, if not worse, terrible things and you remain silent.
Right now, trust in our institutions are at all-time lows. One of the ways that we can start to rebuild that trust is by ensuring that these institutions like Congress and the people who lead them are accountable to us — and only us.
If Democratic and Republican politicians don’t feel the pressure from within their own bases, then do you really believe they’ll act in good faith to help the people who elected them? Recent history should have taught us plenty of lessons to know the answer to that question.
So, let us hold Donald Trump accountable for the remaining 72 days he still has in office while a pandemic still rages out of control and millions are suffering economically. Then, let us hold Joe Biden accountable on January 20, 2021, and for each and every day of his presidency. And not just him, but every politician in the Senate, the House, and state legislatures as well.
Most importantly, remember that these political parties only have power because of us. And that power can be quickly taken away. Let us make sure to constantly remind these people in government that the power resides with us and that we will hold them accountable for their actions, regardless of whether they’re on our team or not.