A Brief Thought on Party Conventions and the Failed Two-Party System

Elizabeth Field

As much critical analysis there has been throughout the centuries, I think it can be generally agreed that it’s hard to find fault with George Washington. Our long revered, first president is the hallmark of American values. American folklore teaches young minds to be honest by using Washington as a role model after he told his mother about that darned cherry tree (also, brush your teeth! Remember those wooden teeth?).

He infamously refused the title of “Your Highness,” instead settling for the more democratic “President of the United States,” and then set the precedent of an eight-year term instead of ruling for life.

And, just as famous, although today seemingly forgotten, in his farewell address to Congress, Washington warned the American people of the dangers of political factions.

In the Constitution of the United States, which outlines the basic government processes, there is no mention of political parties or factions. At that time, “Us against them” meant us modest colonists against the oppressive, taxing King George III!

It didn’t mean citizen against citizen. It didn’t mean filibustering any bill the other party would like to pass. It didn’t mean holding up ANYTHING from happening in Congress so your party could show its strength.

I know everyone is sick and tired of the way our government is (not) functioning, but have we all maybe considered the option that the two party system and electoral ballot’s time has past? What each party represents is so far removed from the modern, moderate citizen that I know my voice is not being heard. What about yours?

Both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions just wrapped up and I am more confused than ever. All that I heard at the RNC was “Well, I bet the Democrats won’t tell you this!” and some weird chair harassing. The DNC followed up with “Well, the Republicans are liars!” What should, idealistically, be where delegates debate and choose a candidate for election has turned into a parade of celebrities with limited political knowledge and no experience giving their endorsement (and hefty donation) in return for publicity, while our current and future leaders chide and berate each other like a school yard bully.

Now, George Washington was actually more concerned with another faction (or country) with more power being able to take over the volatile and split American government or the United States, un-uniting itself into smaller countries.

What he didn’t foresee was his own people turning on one another to extract immature revenge. And although we are still relatively free, are we still one nation?