Alas, my poor homeland, I realize I have said this time and time again, but looking back upon my homeland, the United States, I have witnessed far too alarming of developments.
It all started with a game, the game of ping pong. There I was (metaphorically speaking) on one side of the game supporting fervently what I thought was my own. The other side was clearly sending us into the "Constitutional Crises." Taking a step back from the game, I saw it was all wrong. Each party won a supermajority and drowned out the other side by calling them the villains obstructing matters. The opposition party in indignant rage takes to the barricades (not literally) and demands change. The opposition party wins the midterm elections and things go back and forth, and eventually each president becomes gradually further and further to the poles.
I have written on this issue before, but now as I'm living in D.C. and have attended a forum on the separation of powers, I hope to shed more light on the game of ping-pong politics.
Now first, I want you all to hold on to your seats, citizens, for this is going to be one of my more controversial statements (maybe not as controversial as the "French Revolution was justified").
Congress needs to realize their power.
The professors at the forum I attended mentioned how in recent years, achieving the rank of President and Supreme Court as well as grabbing more and more power have been seen as the "end goals." Congress has been too concerned with winning elections and not making large and hard decisions. Congress must make these decisions because ambition checks ambition and power checks power. This is the way the system was set up. If one branch does not do its duties, the other branch will take over and get more powerful, gradually transitioning us into a presidentially governed country.
Americans need to get more involved in politics. This was a positive outcome of the upheaval of 2010 – many laypeople and teenagers became active in the political process. (Alas, on the Republican Party side. But what can I do?) This caused people to really delve into the meaty issues and tackle them.
Those who are only mildly invested may begin to see it as "our team vs. there team," but there is so much more and so many compromises to be made. I'm not saying make politics your career – but learn more about politics and the dynamics of policy before making a decision.
Another thing that is holding us back is that we say beautiful words like "I'm on the side of human rights" or "I'm on the side of liberty" without defining it. I have been guilty of it myself, but we need to be more straightforward and say, "This is what I believe liberty is" or "This is what I believe human rights are" and be more open to political discussions with our friends and neighbors. We will soon see there are more divisions and diversity than just a two party system.
Political diversity and competition is a good thing, but the way we have it now is a stagnate for everybody. Nothing gets resolved, and we keep throwing the House and Senate back and forth like a ping pong ball.
The big difference is that this isn't a game – people's lives are at stake. As we toss the Legislative Branch back and forth, people are becoming more and more discontent, and the protests grow larger with each day.
We need to allow the Legislative Branch to legislate, to compromise, and to make the tough decisions. Once each branch is acting the way it was supposed to be set up, we will be a much happier nation as legislatures become more focused on the issues and not on the inflammatory statements they can use to win the next election. The people will become more aware of what actually goes on in the Capitol as they are exposed to more education about civics and government. It is much more than a game; it is our lives. It is the life of a nation and the life of the future. As I stand on the busy boulevards of D.C., I look at the Capitol dome where I made a promise long ago while I was a young campaigner in high school. I promised myself while looking at that dome that I shall not quiet my voice until the people and government work together for the common good of the rights of all – freedom of speech, of religion, of the press – and the freedom to live.
We must be more than bystanders cheering for our team to win; we must be active scholars of the republic.