Old Political Grudges Stifle New Ideas, Intellectual Progress

Old Political Grudges Stifle New Ideas, Intellectual Progress

Ross Parks

Humans have found many ways to govern themselves, from dictatorships to fascism, to democracy or theocracy. Any one system of law able to hold the masses under a common agreement is the recognized pillar of civilization.
Now, the effectiveness of these governments remains solely dependent upon their underlying purpose, as well as where the perspective laws of the government derive from.
However, it seems that human habit has corrupted our intentions as a democracy, and that our votes no longer just say yes or no because we as individuals don’t agree. Rather, our system of voting is, or is coming to a dramatic point where we plainly vote yes or no, because we, as members of a specific party, don’t agree with the opposing party’s beliefs.
Ironically, the fact that we can’t agree seems to be nearly all we can agree upon, but why? What part of us desires this? How is it contradictory to even its own meaning, and how do we fix it?
Now, before anyone begins to think fingers are pointing in any particular direction, allow me to first cover some bases. Humans love to generalize. We find it not only easy, but comforting to be able to set a few standards in place. Then, when confronted with a problem that resembles the last, we apply the same solution and anticipating the best. We tend to repeat the same routines day in and day out and continue our days in peace. So what’s the problem? What are the consequences of blindly following patterns and general rules of life in either habit or politics?
Allow yourself to be drawn into a scenario, in which you are going to work (you work at a government office). The only route, Jefferson Rd., has everyone on it, since most everyone works where you do. You accept it because there is no alternative, but one day, a new road is constructed, called Elm, and you choose to go on Elm and so do a few other people. Even though you know they both lead to the same place, work.
Over time, you begin to develop a preference for your street of choice and you find you never even consider the other. Eventually, the rumors about the other road start, and before long, you’re shooting dirty glances at Bob Jones, who takes Jefferson Rd. every morning. And coincidentally, works in your department, and you know he just got a raise before you.
Truthfully, you don’t know why he got it before you, but rather than ask questions you deduce it must be because he takes Jefferson Rd., like your boss; however, you are not the only one playing the blame game. Stereotypes and labels circle in both directions for years, and the streets become more and more trodden with the same drivers, and the rumors only deepen like ruts in the roads. People at work now sit in sections denoted by which street they travel upon, and while there have arose a few other streets now and again throughout the years, it doesn’t matter, the only two that matter here are those who take Elm or Jefferson Rd.
Work has become deeply segregated and conflicts often occur. Sides are taken by the only way that seems fit, by route of choice. Everyone has grown complacent and as workers come and go, you finally have reached the end of your service.
While you may have grown tired of work, you have no doubt that you have done it right, you stuck to your guns. So as you retire, you know you have raised your kids to believe that Elm is the way to go, and that those Jefferson Rd. takers are just a bunch of liars and cheats.
It is your last day, and you drive home. As you drive home, you pay no attention to your car as it bounces and shakes in the ruts and potholes of the road. Nor do you mind the smog that fills the air around you, keeping you from seeing more than a few feet ahead. The cars move slowly, with stops every now and again as stranded motorists seek rides. You are happy to oblige a fellow Elm-streeter. You open the door and let him in. You know how he thinks, his beliefs and how he feels towards the situation.
After all, it is at ease with your mind that you are not to blame for the problems of the world, and all conflicts rest on the shoulders of Jefferson street goers. Yet you believe that you are the idealist that fixes all of the problems. However, the irony of this doesn’t reach you, and you and your fellow Elm street-ers ride, reaching home no more quickly than the day before.
You may be wondering why health care, gay rights, abortion or any number of hot topic issues were not previously mentioned. The answer is because unless we can come off our beaten trails, they aren’t as significant as potential political corruption. To say yes or no strictly from how we generalize ourselves and others, is the real issue.
Honestly, I think we all need to review how our system of government works, because in a government by the people and for the people, who do we have to blame when the people’s government no longer works? It takes effort to change.
We know fundamentally that only new ideas bring about change, just as in chemistry only a new element to an equation can create a new product. So what do we expect to happen if we continue to argue in the same building and on the same opposing sides of the aisle. Such dissention in a building that was built to represent unity, holds great irony. In all, it is not one certain issue, but our issue as a democratic people, that we as individuals need to stand, not as party members.