Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said, “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant.” This is the position you take when you say, “Oh, both parties are exactly the same.” You would be incorrect.
I was raised in essentially an apolitical household. My mother and stepfather did not vote and they constantly bemoaned that all politicians were the same so there was no reason to vote at all. Most of their positions were relatively conservative and they didn’t often think about their positions because a change in their political position wouldn’t affect their lives at all. After all, they didn’t vote. However, they always complained that the government was out to get them, the little guy, regardless of the majority power in whatever branch of government. Through my experience in more and more diverse environments and like many of my generation coming of age during the Internet Era, I began to develop my own way of political thought. Fast-forward to now, I pay attention to American politics very closely because a single vote in Congress can affect everything we do in our daily lives. The most common response I get when speaking on politics: “I don’t vote because both parties are the same.”
Let’s examine that idea further. If both parties are the same, then that would mean all the disagreements are just political theatre to keep everyone thinking they aren’t working together. Examples of this cited are often Democrat and Republican senators or Congresspersons shaking hands across the aisle. This is what normal politics should be. People who disagree on explicitly political issues still coming together to discuss the problems at hand. That is not what is happening in modern American politics.
The body politic has long been tainted by a simultaneous two-pronged attack on reality itself. Conservative politicians made moral issues such as homelessness, human rights for marginalized groups, and the separation of church and state into political ones and then tried to separate political life from everyday life. This is a myth. Political neutrality should not exist because there is an objective way of tackling problems. The solutions to problems need to be supported by unbiased data but unfortunately, many lawmakers just make policy because that’s what they feel like is the truth or that’s the talking point that week. If we lived in a perfect world, these lawmakers would be banished from public discourse but alas, we don’t live in a perfect world.
The political climate has also been inundated by what I like to call “radical centrists.” These are the lawmakers in politics who will be bipartisan at all costs. Even if the other side believes that transgender and nonbinary people are subhuman and don’t deserve human rights, the radical centrist will try and find common ground and hold that ground rather than trying to inch the insane and destructive idea towards reason. This artificial bipartisanship is dangerous because these radical centrists more commonly just called “moderates” will see the legislature floor as a facsimile of the entire world. They’ll view everything through the lens of their laws rather than the reality that much of the policy they end up voting hurts people worse in the long run, even if it helps in the short term. Supporting radical centrism is asking for a disaster and fast descent into the collapse of civilization. We must take fervent stands against policy that hurts anyone. If not everyone succeeds, then no one succeeds. We’re the richest country in the world. If people suffer here, then what’s the point of being the richest country in the world?