By Nick Davis
The 2012 Presidential Election has come and gone and it didn’t arrive any too soon. In an intensely contested race for the Oval Office that was commonly hailed as one of the most important of our lifetime, Americans chose to put their faith back in the hands of President Obama for another four years. Many have argued that if we continue down this path, it will be the end of America as we know it. However, this couldn’t be any further from the truth, and I voted for Romney.
You see, while any number of crises could be the downfall of the United States, they are merely byproducts of a much deeper and ingrained culture of political bickering and one-upmanship that I liken to some sort of ‘social disease.’ One doesn’t have to look far to find its vile dark side.
As the polling results began reporting back to the media last Tuesday, my Facebook and Twitter feeds exploded into an angry furor. My liberal friends rejoiced at the thought of ‘Mitt Money’ sulking in defeat while my conservative buddies were disgusted that we gave ‘that communist’ another term. According to them, our government was going back on what made us great.
I turned on the television and I couldn’t escape it there either. As a political junkie, I enjoy watching both Fox News and MSNBC. I am easily amused by their painfully obvious bias to their respective party. However, it’s one thing to be biased, it’s another to be downright disrespectful and hostile to the opposing side.
On Fox News, I witnessed a completely jaded and vitriol Sean Hannity referring to Obama as ‘the anointed one’ and Karl Rove insisting that his mathematical background knows more than the ‘gobbledegook’ the trained statisticians were producing, also known as evidence. MSNBC isn’t free of any blame here either. Chris Matthews boneheaded-ly and proudly proclaimed that he was ‘so glad we had that storm’ referring to Hurricane Sandy. It apparently allowed Obama one more chance of ‘good politics.’ What an absolute disgrace. Attitudes like these where we put national politics ahead of the decency of common humanity are what’s hurting this country.
Even our own elected politicians prefer to spite the other party rather than work together to tackle today’s most important issues. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell summed it up best in October of 2010 when he stated, ‘my number one priority is making sure President Obama’s a one-term president.’ Really? Your number one priority isn’t to run on the platform you campaigned on, but to actively oppose the President in anything he does? I expect that kind of behavior from 14-year-old siblings, not public servants of the United States of America.
We as voters are just as much at fault as any of these media pundits or elected officials. During this last session of the 112th Congress, Senate leaders and Representatives garnered a pathetic 12% approval rating, the lowest such rating since 1947. It seemed as though we were ready for change; we were tired of the gridlock and infighting. You wouldn’t know it though by the way we voted. As whole, neither the executive branch nor either house of Congress garnered 50% approval and yet each party retained control of their respective institutions. We want change but we sure as hell don’t vote like it.
We’re stuck in this perpetual cycle of extreme partisan politics and hate. When we vote based on party affiliations and not policy solutions, we’ll never make decisions based on what’s best for our beloved country. When the politicians see the electorate as party minions, they’ll govern in such a way. Minions don’t compromise; they take everything they can get and then some. This in turn aggravates the other party, which in turn votes the party line just like before. When we interact with decency and respect, the media and politicians will follow.