Forget the Democrats, forget the Republicans

Thisanjali Gangoda

Sometimes when I read the news, I become overwhelmed with frustration and anger. Considering the perpetual impasse Congress is at with a number of socioeconomic issues, I feel like everyday Americans don’t have the ability to participate freely in decision-making processes.

The history of Congress has generally been described as one incompetent performance after another, but in recent years it has taken an even worse turn with the radicalization of America’s two-party system. Republicans and Democrats are so cutthroat these days that creating solutions to the problems at hand have come second to the blame-game and smear campaigns.

As an American who truly wishes to give a damn about politics, I find it exhausting. There’s too much talk about the issues, their possible outcomes and the deadly consequences of declaring yourself, dare I say it, a moderate. It outweighs many actions taken by individuals and organizations that are actually working toward creating a better America.

Though people might feel politically empowered by organizing town hall meetings with politicians or blogging furiously about upcoming health care reform bills, does this really mean that Americans play a legitimate role in American politics anymore?

To some degree, I think new mediums of communication and networking have enabled us to voice our opinions on any subject in a heartbeat. Insight on political activity is so far-reaching that conversation about politics is more frequent among people these days. American politics has somehow managed to be kind of funny to the masses, with greats like John Stewart and Steven Colbert cracking down on all the weird and nonsensical things that nearly all politicians say and do.

But in watching these kinds of shows and in being a “Republican” or a “Democrat,” do any of us get the chance to reword the logistics of Stupak’s bill and address the fact that it undermines current legislation on women’s reproductive rights? Or point out to Congress that even though South Africa very recently struggled with apartheid, they have legalized gay marriage and we, the United States of America, have not? And to stray a bit away from contentious issues of social justice and human rights, what about the most basic concerns Americans have about getting by each day? With mortgage rates literally through the roof, who is there to turn to for aid? How should students manage to pay off their college tuition debt when they can barely find a job post-graduation?

I think that we need to critically re-evaluate our roles in American politics and get back to grass-roots politics and activism. Instead of trying to get the White House and bipartisanship to resolve these issues and more, we might as well take some of the responsibility off their backs and sort it out ourselves.

Granted, I speak of this idea on very loose terms, but I want to emphasis how strongly I believe in the power of community. It seems to me that the traditional power structures in America are slowly dwindling away.

Before corruption and self-interest absolutely run the streets without question, we might as well sit down and get to know our neighbors and their concerns without the interference of politicians. By banding together through letter-writing campaigns to senators, actively participating in organized demonstrations and by showing solidarity and compassion to our fellow Americans, whoever they may be, we can take back American politics as being of our own.

I, for one, would be content to not be hassled for rejecting both the Democratic and the Republican Party for their unruly behaviors and lack of wit. I’m from the party of People Who Care Enough to Shut Up and Get Something Done, thank you. And you?

Thisanjali Gangoda is a senior political science major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].