America; land of the free, home of the brave. We have convinced ourselves that we are the greatest country in the world. We wage wars and fight to spread the influence of democracy. However, it is impossible to think that we are the perfect example of a productive government. We fight and bicker without making decisions and without serving the American People. Congress shuts down the government because we no longer know the definition of “reaching across the aisle.” We are so polarized as a country that I do not believe that we are entitled to the name the “United” States. Let’s be honest, we need help. Let’s make Democrats and Republicans enter into couples therapy and rebuild the marriage between the two ideologies. We must end the disparity occurring in America and unify the country and its people.
According to Social Psychologist Jonathan Haidt in the TED talk “How Common Threats Can Make Common Political Ground” , there are three reforms that can be made to
1) Elect fewer hyper partisan officials. These are officials who lean so heavily to one side of the spectrum that they are not open to compromise.
In politics today, compromise is seen as weakness. We have created a form of political competition, and have pitted the Democrats against the Republicans. This form of partisanship seemingly leaves no room for compromise. We need to stop calling officials RINOs (Republican In Name Only) and DINOs (Democrat In Name Only) and instead take into account the ideas of the other side.
2) Weaken pressures on politicians to act hyper-partisan. We cannot expect our politicians to agree with us 100% of the time.
Today, the terms Republican and Democrat embody so many different ideas and ideals that it is impossible to be solely on the side of one party. A person can be socially democrat, fiscally republican, morally libertarian and many more. However, because each party is so massive, they sometimes embody contradicting ideals. For example, within the Republican Party, there is the Tea Party. This faction in the party disagrees with many of the opinions of the moderate Republicans. Is it right to put both of these people under the same label? This causes politicians to flip-flop in an attempt to please their audience. By accepting the fact that a politician from your party may not always agree with you and attempting to understand those different ideas, we will be able to lift the pressure on politicians to always be working to please everyone.
3) Rebuild cross party relationships. We must unify the Democrat and Republican party’s to allow them to work together to solve the countries problems.
It is important to remember that Republicans and Democrats share a common goal. The goal to preserve democracy and protect personal freedoms. This can only be done if everyone is working together. Rebuilding party relationships is similar to rebuilding a marriage. Step one: establish methods to manage conflicts. This may include cross party conferences or just sitting down and talking through disputes. Step two: Resist pointing fingers when something goes wrong, especially when no one party is to blame. Step three: Focus on self improvement instead of fixing the other party. Avoid dredging up the past, like when Republicans say they are the party of Lincoln or Democrats claim to be the party of FDR. Step four, each part must accept the other party for what it is and try to focus on where they agree, instead of where they disagree.
As we look toward the 2016 elections, the parties are already rolling up their sleeves gearing up for a nasty fight. Republicans and Democrats alike have already begun taking hits at possible candidates like Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said recently on MSNBC that the Monica Lewinsky scandal is fair game when it comes to evaluating Hillary Clinton’s potential presidential bid. 
Oh..and let’s not forget about the George Washington Bridge scandal or Benghazi.
These politician are being attacked before they have even announced their campaigns. Can one party say anything positive about the other? Chances are we’ll have another election where half of eligible Americans don’t even feel motivated enough to show up to the polls.
So what can we as individual citizens do on a grassroots level? Number one, we can go out and exercise our right to vote. However, we must vote for the candidate who best reflects our political views, not the one we think is most electable. Voters must become educated on every candidate and avoid falling victim to the mass media’s promotion of reporting only what the viewers agree with. If you are are Republican listen to MSNBC if you are a Democrat listen to Fox News.
If we cannot find a way to unite the parties then we must entertain the idea of changing the way we implement democracy into our society.
As Americans we may believe that we have democracy all figured out. However, our form of democracy may not be the most effective. There are currently 123 democratic countries in the world today. It is narcissistic to blindly assume that America is the greatest democratic nation on earth. Our method of electing leaders and passing laws has failed us in the past and will fail us in the future. We need to fix our laws and look at other methods of running an effective government, but we need to have realistic expectations of what our government can do for us.
1. Tom Kludt (2/10/14). “RNC Chairman: Yeah, We’ll Use Lewinsky Against Hillary Clinton (VIDEO)”. TalkingPointsMemo.com. Retrieved March 19, 2014