Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Untapped Potential for Debating Election and Campaign News

The political party-based system in the United States, in combination with advances in social media and information technology, should present a perfect opportunity for open and helpful debate of the issues facing us today. Instead it seems like the political views that we hear on many political blogs, other social media sites, and chats that follow news articles are so tainted by hyper partisan dogma and inflexible rhetoric that debate and respectful discussion is almost impossible.
Whether you are a democrat or a republican, liberal or conservative, or anything in between, a rational and open discussion of the facts, historical precedents, and theories behind the decisions the political parties are proposing would add real substance to the political discussion. As with any debate, this kind of factual information about political news and views might confirm what you already believe, or it might even sway you to look at the issue differently.
On an even more important level, open, honest, and respectful debate of political issues including the economy, entitlements, healthcare, and taxes, would work to bring us all together - while liberals and conservatives might still not agree afterwards, a sense of mutual respect and understanding would improve the tone and help open the door to compromise between the republican party and democratic party.
The political blogs that we link to below explore four tragic flaws in our political system that are making it nearly impossible for the democrats and republicans to truly debate the issues. In brief:
-  Politicians and the political parties seem increasingly likely to follow the party line across the board. They may fear losing party support and money for their own re-election bids, or for projects they favor if they break on other unrelated issues. They may also be concerned about alienating a particular voting bloc, no matter what they feel is right or wrong.
-  Political campaigns during election season are filled with such animosity and divisiveness that the style of governance afterwards becomes a carryover. The politicians stay locked in to the same exaggeration, omission, and attacks that got them elected.
-  Corporations, unions, and special interest groups have very quickly gained more power and influence in the political process due to recent Supreme Court rulings. Thus politicians can be worried about both losing contributions and even being targeted by these powerful groups the next time around. Thus they must vehemently hold the party line.
-  Our system has a built-in paradox where no matter what they may truly think about the political views of the other party, they want to see its political leaders fail, particularly during campaign seasons. This paradox can lead to a knee-jerk rejection of the ideas of the other - perhaps most vehemently against those ideas that may actually lead to the greatest success.
We invite you to search out political blogs like the ones noted below that are nonpartisan, independent, and respect healthy debate. Both the Democratic and the Republican parties, and liberals and conservatives have good (and bad) ideas and ideals. It is only through rational and open debate and discussion that we can truly ensure we have an educated voter base, the potential for compromise, and a feeling of working together to address important problems. Cutting through the partisan gridlock and conflict is the first step, and political blogs and other social media must become more the answer and less of the problem.

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