A call for bipartisanship in Washington

There’s something about the election season. Every four years, when it’s time for the American public to elect a president, there seems to be a different feeling in the air.

We all decide whether or not we want to play the game. Make no mistake about it, the election is a competition, and just like Monday Night Football, we like to make a spectacle out of it.

From debates and polls to early voting and the choosing of running mates, if a citizen decides that he or she will vote, that person plays the game just like the rest of us, but is either side really winning?

For years, Democrats and Republicans have been battling it out. They wage war on each other in order to gain power in the Senate, the House, the courts and the White House, the most coveted position of either party. Why, though, is the presidency such a big deal?

We all know there is a balance of power in Washington. All three branches of the federal government have to cooperate in order for anything to be accomplished. Without a majority in Congress, it doesn’t matter which party has control of the executive branch. There still has to be cooperation.

Yet, we somehow think that if a member of either party is elected, he or she will be able to deliver on all of those grand promises they make during their campaigns. We play the game.

We turn a blind eye to the fact that not as many people show up to vote for congressional positions when there is not a presidency at stake as well. We ignore certain social views of our party’s candidate in order to stay loyal to that party. If we don’t ignore those views, we’re more than happy to rationalize them away, explaining why that particular view should be overlooked.

Yes, there is a competitive feel to the presidential election every four years. That’s because it is a competition, in which the American voter becomes engrossed, but somewhere deep down, we all know that it will take more than empty promises to run the nation effectively.

We all know that as long as Congress stubbornly votes down party lines, we are at the mercy of the two-party system, and the corporations that determine the goals and motives of those two parties and their candidates.

So, what will it take to fix the quagmire that is Washington? When will we have another debt crisis looming overhead on which the two parties wait until the last minute to come together, threatening to worsen our current economic woes?

Perhaps we should ask a different question. When will the concerns of the American people become the concerns of the Democrats and Republicans in Washington?

We, as a nation, have to make our voice heard, and that voice should be an educated one. If politicians can’t see past party lines, we will have to do it for them.

We need to pay attention to Congressional elections as well as those of the presidential variety. We need to know the issues and vote our own consciences, not those dictated to us by the parties to which we belong.

Of one thing we can be certain: as long as the average citizen does not understand and become actively involved in the American political system, politicians in Washington will continue to pursue the interests of their parties, not the interests of the American citizen. We must hold them accountable.