BY CLAIRE RUTLEDGE
The American dynamic between conservative and liberal viewpoints is an enigma. What is it that makes Americans—some of the most tolerant citizens in the world—become so enraged over political ideology?
It is the passion for dissent and discussion that is so dear to American ideology, regardless of the party alignment.
The most radical of ideological extremes are not the ideologies caught in the crosshairs.
They are not the sort of extremes like Anarchy or Bohemian Club.
Rather they are the traditions of John Adams versus Thomas Jefferson—a civil and intelligent debate that accomplishes something—that are being challenged as hurtful to society.
The separation between parties has historically been a boom for America. As John F. Kennedy said, “My experience in government is that when things are non-controversial and beautifully coordinated, there is not much going on.”
In a country that spans racial, religious, economic, and educational boundaries, constant consensus would be illogical.
Some politicians may aspire to lofty goals of moderate political standing and idealism, but America was built upon radical ideas.
William F. Buckley Jr. once said, “Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the costs become prohibitive.” That being said, moderate political thought is “ideally” how politics should be shaped.
However, moderate political thought would not exist in any form without the struggle and compromise between conservatism and liberalism.
In a country where counter-protesting is just as popular as protesting itself, Americans should not pretend to be shocked by such extremes.
Modern American politics come from an antagonistic and controversial tradition.
The Revolutionary War was one of the biggest ideological battles in modern Western history.
Unlike Canada or Australia, the United States is no longer part of the British doctrine, a fact that has allowed America to become the global superpower it is today.
Political parties in America come from a shared tree of ideology beginning with Enlightenment thinkers and the founding fathers. These foundations laid the groundwork for a guarantee of individual rights, fair court systems, representation and “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
President George Washington feared the involvement of political parties in the young nation. However, this schism was inevitable due to the nature of the U.S. citizens and the ideas we have always believed in.
Towns and cities, corporations and enterprises, traditional and contemporary, liberal and conservative; there have always been two sides to the same coin. Some complain that we get nothing done through partisanship.
Let me pose this question: is there corruption and powerful special interest groups in the United States government? Yes. Yet, is there more corruption in a one-ideology system? Absolutely.
Having intelligent and informed debates, preformed every day across the U.S., means compromises are being struck that move this country forward.
Utilizing the politics of the past 234 years, America has been doing just fine.