End polarized political practices
When 14 Senate Democrats fled the state of Wisconsin last week in an effort to block Gov. Scott Walker's plan to deal a serious blow to public unions by stripping them of their collective bargaining rights, the decision to run seemed like a powerful symbol of standing up to perceived injustice. Now that a few days have elapsed and both sides of the stalemate are refusing to negotiate — and the Democrats announcing that they will not return from Illinois until Walker is willing to compromise — the whole situation is getting old. The romantic notion of the Democratic senators as heroes on the run seems more like a scene from a poorly made political thriller movie. Walker and his camp seem less like imposing villains and more like bratty children. To put it bluntly, both sides of this stalemate need to grow up, meet face to face and talk things out. After all, that is how adults are supposed to solve their problems.
As of now, with the Democrats and Republicans fighting across state lines and each side refusing to move until the other gives in — not to mention thousands of people protesting in the streets of Madison — the scenario serves as a depressingly telling example of the political climate in America. The factions are so polarized that Senate meetings seem more like battlefields than places of meaningful discourse. When the people in charge refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the opposition's claims, the people under them begin to do the same — and the entire nation ends up losing.
In order for democracy to work, every part of the country has to work together — the people and the politicians. Compromise is a key aspect of a government "for the people, by the people" — or so it should be. Nowadays, no one wants to recognize that fact. Perhaps everyone has forgotten that. The truth of democracy, though, is that it is a political system based entirely on compromise. Under President Barack Obama, "bipartisanship" has become a sort of political buzzword or mantra — an idea invoked often, but carried out never. This needs to stop. The people in charge need to grow up. Both the Democrats and the Republicans — not only in Wisconsin, but everywhere — need to sit down with each other, talk and actually listen.
As the situation in Wisconsin demonstrates, the country seems to be nowhere near that point. Instead, parties wage war and resort to drastic measures before even taking the time to attempt the more moderate solutions. If America wants to ensure the continued existence of the glory it is so afraid of losing, everyone needs to recognize that there is a happy median — considering that median is actually a pretty viable course of action.