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Dreaming of bipartisianship

| Thursday, September 23, 2004

Look, all of this political stuff is making me sick. Absolutely sick to my stomach, and I can’t take it any more. I’m down for politics, in fact, I champion them, but you know why voter turnout is so low in the 18 to 24 age group? The majority feel that politics is dirty and pointless. That’s no secret, and I’m sure I just enlightened no one with that previous sentence. My biggest problem with most viewpoints in The Observer is that there is rarely a call to action. They simply consist of complaints with no suggestion for a solution.

Well to both sides, the Democrats and the Republicans, I call upon you to stop the name calling, stop the finger pointing, stop the smearing and stop the hate. I know you hate each other. I can see it, and I can feel it everyday. I’ve seen Republicans reach to tear a Kerry bumper sticker out of their democratic friend’s hands. I have friends who won’t go to Republican meetings or watch the early days of the RNC with me because they simply don’t want to hear it. But I’d like to point out that nothing good ever emerged from hatred. At a University that houses some of the brightest, I’d hope that at least here there’s a chance of understanding that. At such a spiritual institution, I’d hope that we’d realize the hypocrisy of our ignorance. I’m no theologian, but I think Jesus would stand against naming others bigots, racists and homophobes simply because of the label that they carry. To me that just doesn’t seem like Jesus’ style.

What we all need to realize is that political parties boil down to ethics. Both parties generally want the same thing but take two different paths to get it. I’m not going to be upset that someone wants to drive the Pacific Coast highway from San Francisco to Los Angeles as long as they realize the joy, splendor and speed available on I-5. I can’t argue with someone’s world view, as long as there is sound logic behind it. The Republicans don’t want to register and take voters to the polls that are likely to vote against their cause? Sure, they are definitely “grinching” the principles of democracy, but can’t you understand their logic?

If someone came up to you, a Notre Dame student, and told you that you were needed to give the USC quarterback and his receivers a ride to the stadium would you readily do it? I don’t support the Republican cause and I strongly oppose conservative viewpoints, but I can accept sound logic.

You think you should keep most of the money you’ve made because you’ve earned it? Hmm, sounds logical, right? Great, good for you! Even though I completely disagree and personally would rather try to be more Christ-like and directly give what I can to those who need it more than I do, I fully understand your logical argument. But please don’t fall for unsound logic like “They’re jealous of our freedom,” or “Iraq was going to develop weapons of mass destruction sooner or later,” because then that is just foolish.

In short, one group of people feels that they are privileged and should help others and the other feels that they’ve worked hard for their privileges and shouldn’t have to share … and I know there’s more stuff in there that separates the two, but the point is that neither side is evil but they are just ideologically at odds. So let us respect that and proceed to work together. Democrats, stop hating Republicans, and Republicans, you stop hating the abortion-loving, joint-smoking Democrats who seek to ruin every American family by allowing gays to get married. You’re not bigots, they’re not communists. Respect and learn from your differences.

Those who say they aren’t going to vote, I urge you to reconsider. You’re right, your one vote doesn’t make a difference, but if everyone felt like that our governmental system would fall apart faster than Canada if anyone wanted to invade with $5 and a popgun. I’m not an expert on government, but I’m pretty sure democracy thrives on more participation. It’s not that hard to vote, and if everyone voted then logically more people would be happy with the outcome. The more people are happy, the less people bicker, so everyone wins.

I know my dream of bipartisanship won’t happen for this polarized election, and game theory says that people in politics will never be nice because it’s safer to be mean, but if anyone has seen “Mean Girls,” you’d realize that being mean just isn’t cool in the long run.

Be nice, accept, but don’t agree and respect differences of opinion because that’s what makes this country great. You can’t have rock and roll without country, you can’t have liberals without conservatives and you can’t have Oreos without milk (well, you could but who’d want to?).

Blake Jackson



Sept. 23