The Game

Politics has become a zero-sum game, and we are the pawns unwilling to compromise.


Although by name we live in these “United” States, how United do you actually feel? This country is so greatly split by political party, that I often hear democrats and republicans alike refer to the opposite party as “them.” “Well, that’s their problem!” “That’s their fault!” No, it’s our problem, and we must not focus on whose “fault” it may technically be, we must come together to solve our problems, not laugh and point fingers. We live in a nation where the government is controlled by a game. There is no winner, but there is most certainly a loser, and that loser is us, the people. Each party is so worried about making sure the other side doesn’t “win,” and it often seems like our great democracy has turned into one big game of tit for tat. No matter which side you lean towards we must all realize that this political gridlock that has become such a commonplace in our government is not a good thing. Our democratic republic was built not only on freedom and equality, but also on compromise. Some, however, do not see the benefits to that. “Giving in is just as bad as losing!” No! The hatred and animosity which has plagued this country from its creation continue to thrive because of this competitiveness, and although we have, of course, made many great steps in the right direction, there is still so much work to be done. This gridlock, this paralysis of our system is tearing our country apart, and all we seem to care about is “who’s winning.”

This past Tuesday I worked the election, and I experienced something that made me think. Every person that came up to me with their completed ballots, ready to put them in the scanner, looked me in the eye and said: “thank you.” No matter if they were democratic, republican, or independent, they were all courteous, pleasant and extremely thankful. This reminded me that we may, of course, disagree on things, some more than others, but we are still just people. People with needs, people with loved ones to worry about, people who care about this country. Sure there are outliers, but every one of those 713 people who thanked me didn’t have to be there. No one was forcing them, no one made their decision for them, they came because they care. They care who governs us as a nation, and who represents them and their beliefs. No matter which party they were voting for, or if they were voting for the “lesser of two evils,” they were there, and their voices were heard.

However, that number was only half of the registered voters in that area, and still, another large minority of eligible citizens were not registered. Why? The number one question I received on Tuesday was “do I have to vote for this person because I don’t really know who they are.” The transparency of public officials, during the election season, and while they’re in office is vital. A major part of that would be moving away from destructive advertisement. I understand attacking the other party “works,” but if there were no negative advertising to compete with, then maybe people would learn more about the actual candidates and would feel confident about getting out and voting. If each candidate just focused on familiarizing the public with themselves and what they stand for instead of pointing out how corrupt the opposition is, I believe voting numbers would skyrocket. All negative ads do is convince the consumer how terrible each candidate is, and those who stay home probably do so because they don’t feel like they can choose between the lesser of two evils.

Instead of bombarding the public with more animosity and hatred, couldn’t we all just be civil, and help each other help our country? After all, we are all apart of civilization, are we not? We must look for those compromises because although we will never all completely agree on everything, that should not mean that we can never accept anyone’s beliefs other than our own. We have and have always had the power as a people, and as a “united nation,” to set aside our egos and to put away our bias and our hatred towards one another to come together for the greater good, so why can’t we? Some claim they have the answer, but lack perspective. Others claim to believe in the American dream but feel like they have the right to discriminate. However, regardless of what you believe you must try to realize that there is a monumental shift that needs to happen inside our nation, and, quite frankly, this world. I hope that a country built on the breath of equality, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness can help us both as a nation and as a species to reach that point. This shift will not take a minority or a majority. It will take each and every citizen of our country, to come together as one for all and all for one, to truly make America any kind of “great.”