BOZTEPE: American political system has many underlying issues

Opinions Column: Kaanotations

After the recent election of President Donald J. Trump, a lot of citizens have begun to more actively question the two-party political system within the United States. The Democrats and Republicans are out for blood, disregarding their main purpose, to serve the American people. I write today in hopes to enlighten all readers that reforming the Constitution and the political system of the United States does not mean the end of our country. We must first discuss the issues with partisanship, the harm of only backing one view of an issue due to your loyalty to your party and the need for new political parties or a new type of government. Most people believe that these problems just come with democracy and there is no true way to fix any of them. If we do not continue to question our government and hold them to the highest standard, then we cannot reform and continue to modernize. 

As stated on The Hill, “A recent Pew Research survey found that 36 percent of Republicans thought that liberal policies are 'a threat to the nation’s well-being.' 27 percent of Democrats feel the same way about conservatives.” This hostility is what normally leads to the gridlocks that occur in Congress. The nation has continued to grow partisan, and it is beginning to affect the citizens negatively. Let us consider modern day news. CNN is portrayed as the liberal, Democratic news source, while Fox is the conservative, Republican news source. Both sharing the same type of headlines, but with very different stories and representations. If the job of the news outlets is to provide citizens with information to keep them informed and aware of what is going on around them, then how can we have two completely different narratives rather than similar premises of the headline news?

It seems that in the past there were more centrist Republicans and Democrats. These lawmakers were integral in finding the balance between the Left and Right wings of politics. The issue now is that the Republicans have now moved further Right and are more conservative, and the Democrats have moved more Left and are more liberal. American politicians should support all religions and their freedoms and work for the good of all Americans regardless of their beliefs.

It is also possible and might be useful to change our version of democracy. With a country our size, it could be best for everyone involved. For example, a report from compared Denmark and the United States. Denmark's citizens average 33-hour work weeks, students are paid to attend college and it is ranked number one for overall business. As for the United States, citizens work an average of 47 hours a week, students pay an average of $31,000 for tuition yearly and the country is ranked 18th for business. Yes, you can say, “But Denmark is a smaller country it cannot be comparable,” but let's first look at some of the advantages of Denmark’s democratic socialism versus the United States capitalist democracy. For starters, the rate of employment in Denmark is at 72.8 percent versus the United States 67 percent. This also includes lesser work hours than the United States, and five weeks paid vacation versus the United States maximum of 16 days. Additionally, since all are covered for healthcare in Denmark, each household normally pays $4,400 a year. Compare that to the United States, whose households on average pay $10,000 or more depending on their insurance a year. Denmark also saves more for retirement, new parents get a full year of paid time off after having a child and new fathers get four weeks off after the birth of their child, while the American parents receive nothing. 

I specifically chose Denmark to close off my argument because there is one reason that it can sustain this lifestyle — higher taxes. But, Denmark was ranked the third happiest country in the world compared to the United States at 15th, and I believe that the social safety net for people of Denmark plays a large role in that. The return of higher taxes for people of Denmark is a narrowing of the income gap between the rich and poor, lower poverty, unemployment, education prices, free healthcare with no premiums or insurances and what seems like less stress. The question that must be asked is if America is ready for such drastic change. Only time will tell, but I firmly believe that if we decided to add a few of these ideas into our government system, we could see real improvement for the coming together in politics and best interest for Americans. 

Kaan Jon Boztepe is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore double majoring in philosophy and history. His column, "Kaanotations," runs on alternate Wednesdays. 


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