Why we need political discourse
Joe Everett | Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Just to be fair, this is a column regarding politics. I understand the underlying tension that goes along with reading this type of column — you may just want a peaceful Wednesday without reading some random citizen’s commentary on the political state of the United States — but I believe that this may be worth your while.
The state of our current political system is often associated with greed, manipulation, lobbying, dishonesty, rigidity; we could go one for a while. The point is that the American people now have a very negative view towards politics and politicians in general, and largely seem to have given up on the idea that our politics can improve — a viewpoint that may become even more prevalent over these next four years.
However, this proclivity to complacency and despair will get us nowhere. It’s time for honest and respectful political discourse, especially here on campus. Politics isn’t a dirty word — we’ve made it dirty. Politics comes from the Greek word “politica,” defined as “affairs of the city.” Put simply, it’s the art or science of government. Yet, people today are reluctant to “get too political,” and tend to become extremely defensive when they choose to reveal their “political” opinions. This is detrimental, because productive political discourse rests upon two pillars: a positive and hopeful view towards politics, as well as dialogue that demonstrates openness, honesty and respectfulness. As students and adults at Notre Dame, we all share an obligation to foster and create a culture of respectful political discourse, so that politics may become, as it was meant to be, about helping those in need. When one part of the body suffers, we all suffer.
However, it would seem a bit hypocritical if I myself didn’t open up any of my views about the political climate, and hope these views will be discussed, reflected upon and challenged. Again, discourse is necessary and always has value.
After examining our current political state here in the United States, I believe we need a strong third-party movement. This is not to say that the Republican and Democratic Parties are broken — but they are extremely fractured, and seem to be pulling themselves farther apart rather than attempting to reach some common ground. With political divisiveness and partisan staunchness quickly becoming the new norms, I believe a party centered on the needs and concerns of the American people would go a long way. Third parties are a monumental part of American history, and have traditionally become either a central party themselves or forced the major parties back towards central ground. This is what the new third party aims to accomplish.
I call this “the Party of the Weak,” or perhaps a better name: “the Pro-Life Party.” Let me stop you before the image of a solely “anti-abortion” platform pops into your mind. The “Pro-Life Party” would run on a platform centered around helping those most in need in our society — those who feel dehumanized, vulnerable, mistreated and unrepresented. The platform would be pro-woman and pro-adoption, because the Pro-Life Party argues that women deserve better than abortion, and would strive to support women with the healthcare, resources and support they need when facing an unplanned pregnancy. The Pro-Life Party would be pro-refugee and pro-immigrant, because all people deserve the chance to escape turmoil and persecution. This party would focus on helping the poor, the elderly, the homeless, the disabled and the sick. It would seek to improve God-given lives, because that is what it means to be “pro-life.” This would be a government of the people, by the people and for the people, reinforcing the fundamental truth that we are all created equal.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.