Sunday, March 20, 2011
#79 / The Two Party System
We have a "winner take all" system in our politics, as opposed to a system of proportional representation, so we end up with what amounts to a "two party" system of government. There are really only two "major" parties, and the multiple "minor" parties, or "third" parties, are highly unlikely ever to achieve the ability to govern.
In fact, though, even where there is a system of proportional representation, I tend to think that politics, at bottom, is a kind of "two party" affair.
There is the "we" party. And there is the "me" party.
In our political life, we can either elevate the power of individuals to act individually, and to be free of any requirement to the larger community (this is the "me" party position, ably represented today by the Republicans).
The other approach is to emphasize our interconnectedness, and to sanction taxes and impositions on individuals, to achieve what the elected representatives determine is the greater social, or community good. The "we" party position is not so ably represented, nowadays, by the Democrats.
I think the failure of the "we" party is the reason so many people decide not to mark their ballots at all. Unless you are individually wealthy (and so can truly take care of your basic needs and desires on an individual basis) you are, perforce, of the "we" party. That should be the majority. It should carry the day!