Politics: Why Political Issues Cannot Find Agreement

by blackspanielgallery

Politics is contemptuous, and rarely in modern times will political issues find agreement. Why this happens is probably a mixture of several factors.

Politics is currently polarized, both in the United States and in much of the rest of the world. Voters want results, and results require that different political parties work together. But there often is an impasse. I would think if one party said the sky is blue on a clear day the other party would find a spin to assert the sky is not blue. It seems no matter how good an idea one party might have, the other will find fault, for there is a prohibition against agreement, at least an unwritten prohibition.

So, why cannot this problem simply be fixed? And, a more important question is what caused the problem in the first place. I believe there are multiple reasons that have come together, and these will be difficult to undo.

Some of the reasons involve the general population, but there is animosity among politicians for each other as well.

I will not name political parties, and have noticed there is plenty of blame to share. I also believe the problems happen at all levels of government, and are a confluence of three major factors. I also believe individual politicians are not all to be included. I also believe other things besides the three mentioned can contribute.

Politics Must Appease the Current Society

Happy Voters Reward Politicians as Election Time

Politicians must strive to keep favor with the voters, but in today’s society there has been a constant deterioration is civility.  People too often are rude, even to each other.  And, they allow this to manifest itself with demonstrations against any opposition to their viewpoints.  Some demonstrations are fine, and can be an expression of a concern.  But, demonstrations that are infiltrated with paid anarchists who plan to break laws, damage property, and take over a planned peaceful demonstration get the attention.  And worse, those who send them have lawyers ready to get them out of jail as quickly as possible.


In the past the voters had respect for the office, even when their candidate lost.  And, as for individual issues, they would leave things alone unless I was of high priority.  Oh, writing an elected official might occur, but in the end politicians must negotiate with the other party.  So, some issues are lost in a trade following a negotiation we know nothing about.  A letter can be reviewed, and considered as part of a whole.  But, today we have people who insist on winning every issue, so there are demonstrations, and sometimes criminal damage.  These are the voters the politicians must now deal with.  It has gone down to the point that town hall meetings are being infiltrated and disrupted.  But, those who elected the person holding the meeting have a right to be heard, not listen to disruptive shouting by paid anarchists. 


So, much of the blame rests in a society that must be always gratified, and not compromise as needed to also give others their rights.  And these are the people casting votes.


The root cause might very well be education.  We do not teach people how to act, nor respect.  And morality is not to be taught in public schools. 


I have been teaching college for over thirty years, and can feel quite confident there has been a deterioration in civility and morals.  Today, it is common to have a student lie to make a case for the administration to intervene in increasing a grade not merited.  This behavior seems to permeate too much of society in general.


Politicians Include Many Disrespectful Individuals

People Elect Those Who Are Like Themselves

In a less respectful society more of the candidates are now from the group.  They are themselves less respectful of their peers if the peer happens to be from the other party.  I have recently watched news reports where politicians stand in front of a camera and lie.  Some of us watched a few years back, and know what the truth is, but if a lie can discredit the other party it is not beneath some politicians to use the fabrication.  Others spin things with the intent to deceive. 


So, as society becomes less civil, those elected from that society are likely to have a percentage of their ranks who are also less civil.  And, there is a deterioration of morality, so a lie is no longer beneath many politicians.


Some politicians rise above this, but too many bad apples are causing a major problem.  And bad apples exist in all political parties.


Vote for people who can get along with others, if there is no compelling reason to choose another.


Can Political Accord Be Attained Again?

How Do We Fix Broken Politics?

To fix the above problems we need to revert to a time when rudeness was unacceptable, and immorality was even more so, a time when the office itself was given respect.  We have to fix the population itself.  Oh, there are many good people, but the rude, boisterous ones get the attention.  Perhaps we should stop shining the spotlight on them.  If there is a demonstration, evaluate it first, and only report it in the news if it is a matter of grave concern. 


Once we get to the proper focus, looking at those who give respect as candidates, then we can elect from that pool and move back to a time when negotiations were possible, but all parties need arrive at this position at the same time.

Polarized Political Parties

How Did This Happen?

Political parties have platforms, and all elected officials who claim to be part of a party are expected to stand for the entire platform.  And, there is no room to allow any position offered by the opposite party to survive, meaning the other parties platform is to be denounced totally, regardless of the merits of any issue.


It was not always so.  But, some issues are such that there can be no compromise.  In the United States abortion is such an issue.  One who considers it murder will have no choice but to oppose it.  One who wants to focus on equal rights for women gets abortion involved with such topics as equal pay issues.  It is not the same thing, but there is a spin put on the issue.  Now, two sides are at a stalemate, and neither will give in.  Compromise is unacceptable.


There are other issues for which no compromise is possible.  In the United Kingdom Brexit was such an issue, one cannot be partially in favor of such a topic, so compromise is not an option.


Contention mounts after no compromise issues add up.  These are winner take all issues.  Soon, every issue becomes winner take all, even those issues that once would bring harmony. 


Consider global warming.  Once one side says we need to do something for the environment, the other has to say no.  So, how going green might impact the economy gets traction, for there has to be a plausible reason to reject what is a good idea from the opposition.  Yes, we could have an impact on saving both the planet and the economy if things are done right, but that would mean compromise, and concession in part from both sides.  Working together along a middle path is no longer an option.  There is too much bad blood.  For it is not just the winner take all issues, but how the debates over them are handled.  Rudeness and insults are common, and people who are insulted by each other will be less likely to sit down and work with each other.


Another issue is health care.  The plan President Obama pushed is seriously flawed.  So is the replacement plan.  It would be a good time to work together, but that would detract from President Obama’s legacy.  So, one side is insistent on keeping it intact.  But, that it must be changed is apparent.  There is a question of how.  Working together could get many significant oppositions to one plan or the other reconciled, but that seems not likely.  This has become a winner take all issue, but did not have to be. 


My impression is there is a reluctance to having the opposition party show any credibility, so agreeing on anything posed by the opposition is to be fought. 


Sometimes issues are not even there.  Pointing out lack of eloquence in speaking or other personal attacks are not issue related, but intended to show up the opposition.  I have no doubt President George w. Bush is quite intelligent, but his public speaking was often ridiculed.  Another such attack was on President Bill Clinton by one person who pointed out his physical condition when he was photographed jogging.  And these attacks were not even from other politicians.  Citizens have joined in the attacks, and the object is clearly to discredit. 


One issue not being debated by politicians is whether or not the electoral college is antiquated.  Of course many presidents in modern time were elected with less than fifty percent of the votes.  I remember this being the case for as far back as President Bill Clinton.  It is unlikely we will have a fifty percent president as long as there are additional parties, for there is a great dissatisfaction with politics as they currently are.  So, in the past United States election neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton had the elusive fifty percent of the vote.  But people have made this an issue.  Why?  It was not an issue to the winning side, but is for the losing side.  And the winner with all too few votes shifts back and forth.  The inconsistency is accepting victory in one election and crying about losing the next is not very good manners. 


What we can conclude is the population is unhappy with the way politicians act, and the way they vote.

Can Politicians Come Together?

What Would It Take for Political Accord, Or at Least Political Civility ?

It happened after nine-eleven.  Everyone was united, and complaints about petty issues were no spoken in public.  In times of national emergency even politicians can work together.  But, the harmony was short live. 


As for other times, perhaps politicians should stop searching for minute details to be used to discredit, and work on real issues.  Stop the antics of a child, as some revert to, and act as mature adults.  Some act mature, but those who do not often drag others to their level.


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Updated: 08/03/2017, blackspanielgallery
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frankbeswick on 09/16/2017

Yes, I have always thought that the American two party system is too simplistic, and fails to represent the range of opinion. But if you want to introduce more parties, you need an electoral system that can cope with them. Currently in the UK we have the worst electoral system, first past the post,like the USA, but while this works in a two party system, it is completely inapt for a multi-party system, but the Conservative government,which is the prime beneficiary of this unjust system, preserves it to cling on to power, and the Labour Party, to its shame, has collaborated in this misdemeanour. My party, the Liberal Democrats, are committed to constitutional reform, but we are small and in no position to assert our will.

blackspanielgallery on 09/15/2017

There is a need for more parties, for going to none would just get us back here all too soon.

paperfacets on 09/15/2017

Good points. The polarization is very unsettling. The human urge to be on top is the first problem and the strict two party system fuels the division.

blackspanielgallery on 07/22/2017

Thanks for the update. Our other parties do not have enough backing to get any seats. I believe there is one independent, Bernie Sanders, only because he did not like the way he was treated in the last election. But, he effectively is voting with his old party.

frankbeswick on 07/22/2017

There are about seven parties with representation in parliament+ Sinn Fein, who don't take up their seats, and one independent. My party, the Liberal Democrats, is fourth in size. I was unhappy with the government's deal with the Democratic Unionists, because it involved a sizable financial inducement. The government cannot find enough money to pay public sector workers enough, but it can stump up the cash to bribe its way back to power. That was morally wrong.

blackspanielgallery on 07/22/2017

At least you have a third party that is active. What I have been seeing is your Prime Minster in advancing the elections has lost some of her base, and must rely on a third party to pass things. At least this would give that smaller third party some power in the immediate future. But, I must get the news from our newscasters, and was reluctant to write this into the article in case they have gotten it wrong. This is a good place to include it, as it can be verified or rebuked by the readers.

frankbeswick on 07/22/2017

Good article. Society is polarizing and we have too many extremists. The secular left like to practise mob bullying to suppress disagreement. We see this in the campaign for safe spaces in university where they will be protected from hearing views with which they disagree, but who is protected from them and their mob tactics? No one. In their politically correct mode they shout down dissent and make false accusations of bigotry, prejudice and hate crime.

But in the U.K. we have noted an increase in the far right. These are just as unpleasant as the far left, and they have been committing crimes against Muslims and immigrants.

I belong to a party which is centrist, we believe in tolerance and conducting ourselves in a civilized way. I joined because I realized that their politicians were rational and humane, but the electoral system squeezes us badly and we are struggling to make headway. We are caught between two sets of people with simple solutions to complex problems. The Conservatives to our right act only in the interests of the rich; Labour to our left is ethical, but likely to bankrupt the country with its loose spending controls.

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