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State of the Union, State of the School
samuel tingley 11 contributing writer
February 25, 2010

President Barack Obama’s State of The Union Address, a political swamp, reinforced the lack of success with today’s polarizing party system.

Yet who is to blame for the inefficiency of today’s politics? Is it the Republicans, who systematically deny any chance of a health care reform in America? The Democrats who insist on leaving the issue of immigration alone?

The answer does not rest in a political party, as the American people might assume it would. Instead, the issue is us. As Americans, we pledge allegiance to our political party, not our country. We insist on labeling ourselves as Republican, Democrat, and even the indecisive Independent. Instead, we should take a more democratic approach to our politics.

We need to prioritize the country’s needs and vote accordingly. We cannot simply vote for the Republican governor simply because we agree with a few of the Republican platforms. Instead, we need to create a better party system, with the extremes on either side and the general public somewhere in between. We need to eliminate the party names and the agendas that follow them. Why should a politician who supports strengthening the immigration policy then be forced to be pro-choice?

A disheartening sign from both parties was the lack of support for Obama during his address. For example, when Obama praised the tax cuts for 95% of Americans, the Democrats jumped from their seats with a thundering applause while the Republicans sat stone-faced on their side. On the other hand, Obama viciously attacked George W. Bush and made him responsible for all the hardships of Obama’s first year in office. How can our political system be effective with such polarization between our leaders?

While here at Deerfield, many of us cannot voice our opinions through a poll vote, we can still practice the same principles with our own Student Council.

With the Student Body President election coming up in the spring, we are sure to hear of all the successes that each candidate had while at Deerfield, yet unfortunately, we are sure to see a popularity vote of some sort in which students simply vote for their friend or someone they imagine would be a good leader because of his or her public speaking abilities.

Everyone needs to consider their vote—to think more about the platform of the campaign rather than the person standing behind it. If we do that, we are sure to have an excellent President of Deerfield next year with a cohesive student government and numerous opportunities for student input.

America needs the same kind of system—needs to avoid the external party connotations and simply focus on the motives of the candidates.

Inevitably, the next time you are asked about your party affiliation you will be enticed to simply state, “I am a Conservative,” but instead you should say, “Well I do not belong to a specific party. I support the idea of creating more strict immigration laws, yet at the same time I am pro-choice.”

Essentially, we need to break out of the shackles of the political party names that constrict our beliefs as well as the efficiency of our government.