by Adam Pfeiffer ’20
In wake of the recent government shutdown, and another potential shutdown looming, many Americans, including myself, have felt frustration towards both President Trump and his Democratic opposition in the House and Senate.
Members of Congress and other political leaders seem to not care about serving the American people and improving our nation. Instead, they simply are content with being elected to office, sticking to party platforms, and opposing all proposed legislation of the other side. This is unacceptable, and the shutdown only proved this further. Neither Trump and the Republicans nor House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats, were able to realize that they were both equally responsible for the shutdown and the harm it caused American citizens.
Historically, lawmakers have pushed aside divisions between political parties when needed, such as the September 11 attacks that resulted in the Patriot Act, or the Great Compromise of 1787, which resulted in the formation of the American Congress. In the last several years, however, it seems as if the willingness to work together has decreased. Not only do the parties disagree with one another’s beliefs, typically believing the exact opposite, but both increasingly disagree on the nation’s top priorities. This is problematic, as the Democratic House will focus on issues such as the environment, climate change, or race relations, but the Republican-led Senate and President focus more on immigration, smaller government, and the military.
This growing rift between political leaders has extended down to normal, American citizens as well. Many Americans have grouped together with people of their own party lines, establishing red and blue states, with not much diversity in political views. The divide makes its way all the way down to the local level, where gerrymandering has become a common practice. The changing of congressional districts has allowed for states to favor a certain party and allow for more Congressional members of that party.
If this trend continues, then I fear that the American government, a standard for the world since its revolutionary introduction 232 years ago, will collapse. If Congress can not reach compromises that please both sides, our political system must be reexamined, as this development has continued to worsen. Our ideal democracy is at risk, and lawmakers must be able to compromise for the betterment of our nation.