by Mark Angelides
A scan of headlines will subject you to a swathe of precise little phrases such as “Right wing Extremists”, “Leftist agitators” and “Centrist Candidate”. Each snippet allows us to form an association or viewpoint before we actually even read or watch or investigate. It does, in fact, colour our opinions before we even know the details. And this is the intention.
When groups are neatly divided, it is then that certain “values” can be attached; if they are not, then it becomes more difficult to say “X represents Y” or “A stands for B”. The plan is to associate positive values with one side, and negative with the other. The problem is that stops the populous basing their votes and actions on policy, rather it encourages us to make decisions based on divisions and groupings.
It can be useful to use such terms as Conservative or Liberal, to either identify or to classify, but it does a disservice to the intricacies of each person’s politics. When we dismiss a policy for its instigator, we fail in critically analyzing the benefits.
The most recent (high-profile_ examples of this both involve President Trump:
- The Firing of James Comey. Whilst it is not a policy, it is a political action, and prior to the firing, great swathes of Democrats were calling for him to be removed (including Hillary Clinton). But now that Donald Trump has done it, people on all sides are attempting to smear the action as an illegal act. Here is the division at work; if one side had done it, all well and good, biut if the other side does it, it’s seen as a cover up.
- The Border Wall. Just last week, seven and a half miles of 18ft high steel wall was put up on the US-Mexico border. It was approved and paid for under the 2016 budget with almost no opposition and all but ignored by the media. But when Trump wants the same, it is considered racist and divisive.
The days of Partisanship need to end. We need to look beyond labels and start looking at (and for) policies that can exist without party spin. Until both the public and politicians wake up to this, we will be stuck in this unending cycle of pointlessness.