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I am an American

Carter Boyd | Tuesday, January 22, 2013

In 2012, the United States witnessed another polarizing election in America. Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney. Republican vs. Democrat. Left vs. right.  This particular election was the first presidential election I could place a vote in, like many other Notre Dame students.  For this reason I paid special attention to the campaigns, the debates, the papers and the news’ commentaries leading up to the November election.  When all the votes were in and counted, Obama prevailed in the popular and electoral vote, but just barely over a Romney ticket that held right in there with the incumbent president almost 50-50.  Looking at a county-by-county map of the election, Romney dominated the map, which was largely red with blue spots near big city hubs.  Nevertheless, President Obama renewed his title as Mr. President on Monday at the inauguration in Washington D.C.  As an American, I hold a great esteem and respect for the leader of the free world, and acknowledge the blessing we have as a nation to be able to elect our own leaders.  
I was not upset over the outcome of the election, even though I voted for Romney, but I was troubled by something more profound. After seeing the results of the election, I concluded both candidates were not the right choice for America.  An election in which one candidate barely gets more than 50 percent of the popular vote hardly shows us which candidate the American people have decidedly chosen to lead them. An election like the one in 2012 demonstrates how polarized our nation is today, a bad predicament.  It is hard for good to come out of any situation where only half of the people are satisfied and the other half is dissatisfied.  This is why America did not need Obama or Romney to be its president the next 4 years. We need someone better. We deserve someone better.  We need a leader who will have the convincing support of America. For if we are not united, we will not stand. We don’t have to look far to see the bad effects of extreme polarization in our political system.  Simply recall the recent debacle with the looming fiscal cliff towards the end of 2012. 
Why are we so divided? Why has every election in recent memory come down to just a few votes? Part of the problem is our nation is separated into two main groups: Right and left, Democrat and Republican. Each group has its own ideas, precepts, beliefs and morals (or rather lack of morals).
Our first, and debatably best, president, George Washington, led our nation in some of our most difficult years when the nation was just forming after the Revolutionary War. Washington warned our new nation in one of his last speeches as president of the dangers of political parties forming in the United States. Washington had begun to see the effects of the Federalist Party and the Democratic-Republican Party as well as the issue of having two large powers at be always fighting for control over the nation, sometimes blatantly disregarding the demands of the American people. It seems like over 200 years ago, our first president cautioned us of the very issue that currently plagues our political system. 
Is it possible for our nation this far into its history to get rid of these abominable political parties that repress Americans from moving forward? It is very feasible, but only if we the people make it change. That is the great thing about our democracy: we make our government what we want it to be.  Any complaints about the incompetency and inabilities of Congress, our judicial system or even our Presidents come back to us because we as the American people put them there. 
I agree with Washington and that our political party system is holding America back from its true prosperity. This is why when I went to register to vote, I was disappointed I had to select to become a member of one of the mud-slinging, agenda-pushing, power-thirsting political parties. I selected no affiliation. I do not, however, consider ‘none’ to be my political identity.  If you asked me my political affiliation, I would not boast of being a Republican or Democrat. I would humbly tell you, “I am an American.” Many politicians, civic leaders, community workers, volunteers and American citizens all proclaim this same theme: unity amidst our differences. Yet still we must talk about this issue. Let us reach out to one another, to our friends, family, teachers, congressmen, senators, governors, mayors and president, and let them know we want progress and not Congress. 
I pray President Obama will uphold the great values and morals of our nation as our leader as we move forward as one nation under God, indivisible and with liberty and justice for all.
Carter Boyd is a freshman studying science-business. He can be reached at
cboyd1@nd.edu
    The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.