The worship of our political parties

Political parties have become religious institutions. Today, people cling to their political party as if it were the key to saving their immortal soul. Party affiliation has become a core part of the identify of so many Americans. There is a belief that they must accept whatever their political party states as fact or vote for whatever lackluster candidate is put in front of them, regardless of morality or sanity. We deserve better than this. You deserve better than this.

Clinging to the title of Republican or Democrat now carries with it the same weight in American minds as affiliation with a religion. We worship the dogma our political parties preach by blindly accepting what they tell us to be true. And we vehemently defend it, sometimes bordering on violence, whenever anyone challenges our party’s beliefs. We come to the defense of politicians, making excuses for them and defending bad decisions, because we feel that if we don’t, we will suffer a fate worse than death.

The worst part of it all, is that we very rarely know anything about the motivations behind a specific viewpoint or decision within our political party. We give them the benefit of the doubt, even when they have done nothing to earn it. Politicians are not your savior. They do not deserve your blind faith. They are people with interests and agendas who want to make the best decisions for themselves and their careers.

At some point in the past few decades, we lost sight of independent thought and personal judgement with respect to politics. Political parties have become irrefutable structures that we must cling to in all situations, even when the decisions of the people we vote for negatively impact our lives. This has been best demonstrated in many of the elections that have occurred over the past year.

We are better than this, both as a country and as individuals. We should not accept candidates based solely on their party affiliation and its alignment with our own. We should vote our conscience and not blindly by our political affiliation. Our votes are powerful, it’s the great equalizer in this country. We must use them as we would a dangerous weapon, with careful thought and consideration.

If we continue down this destructive path that we are on now, we will end up in a more extreme political climate than ever in American history. A climate that will no longer reflect the actual views of the American citizens the system is supposed to represent. We must hold our political parties accountable to who they let associate with them. We must hold them accountable to what they allow to stand.

Elected officials must be held to the highest standard in our society, now and forever. Lapses in character and morality must be dealt with harshly and swiftly. There is no other way.

I understand that my words will not change the minds of many of you out there. For a substantial number of you, you’ve been a Republican or a Democrat for all your adult life. You couldn’t imagine ever voting against your party’s interests.

But let me ask you a question.

Do you adopt a political viewpoint from your political party by default or do make your own decisions independent of your political affiliation? How do you know? Take a moment to think about the last viewpoint you adopted and why.

More interestingly, where does that political viewpoint come from within your political party? Is it driven by a special interest group? Does it align with the current strategy of a major donor to members of that political party? Most importantly, does it fundamentally align with your personal values?

I’ll let you in on a secret… You can have your own beliefs and principles, and they don’t have to fully match your political party. Your beliefs and principles should influence your political party, not the other way around. You do this by taking an active role in politics, by reaching out to your representatives and making your voice heard. And if they don’t want to listen, then you shouldn’t blindly vote for the next party affiliated candidate that comes across your ballot. The power in a democracy is the people who make up the democracy.

That’s you and me.

We are the power of a democracy, not our political parties. Let’s move our country back toward sanity, back toward compromise and collaboration. If the people we elect into office simply vote across party lines for every issue, then we have ultimately failed as a democracy. We can fix this. We must fix this. Take action!