Christopher Handy, an MPP student at Delaware Valley University prepared the following Piece in Professor Baturin’s Writing and Communication in Public Policy Course in response to an optional assignment on Responses to the recent Mid-Term Elections
Join or Die was the rallying cry championed by Benjamin Franklin to unite the colonies against the British monarchy. Today the scourge of authoritarian overreach is not as imminent a threat as during times past. Our democratic institutions still stand firm, but they operate through begrudging support from the people they serve. This situation may be adequate to resolve simple domestic issues, but our country is the leader of an international community. The world established by the United States following WWII will not survive, let alone thrive without American leadership.
There are some citizens who want to “Make America Great Again”, frankly the only place America has lost greatness is in global leadership. As a nation, we face problems so complex they can not be resolved by a bureaucracy on autopilot. We have a federal government incapable of legislating for the long-term benefit of the nation. The Duopoly has created a system where only ideological purity is acceptable in public policy.
This past election was disturbing, due to the sigh of relief breathed by a large portion of our populace. Sadly, this serenity was not inspired by a new-found ability for the government to become responsive to the people. It arose from the hope that the legislative machinery would seize. The two political parties have failed us, so that they could consolidate their power. Gerrymandering, brinksmanship, fear mongering, unchecked electoral spending, and base pandering have corrupted our democracy.
As a people we must unite and hold our elected officials accountable for an operational government. I am tired of entering the election booth each year only to find candidates who have proven to be pure enough to withstand the primary gauntlet. Too often we are forced to choose from the best of the worst candidates. Oddly enough there was a time when what someone stood for was more important than what they stood against.
The United States is not entitled to be the global leader of anything. American leadership stems from our citizens; it is proven through the value of our common vision, the effectiveness of our actions, and the ability to rally for a cause greater than self. Until our politicians are forced to choose country over party, our citizenry will suffer. The rule of the people is under attack from the highest levels of government. The time has come for the political duopoly to be disbanded. Democracy has always been a messy venture, ours is no different. As a democratic people we still retain the right to choose; whether we Unite or Die.