| 03.18.2018

Politics should not trump progress — Party politics should never be main focus of government


Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, Raul Labrador and Jimmy Farris, Bill Lambert and Nancy Chaney, at every level politics is a battle between Republicans and Democrats. This competition is  obvious during election cycles, but also continues throughout the year in the state legislature and town halls throughout the state, leaving many local and state issues to rarely be resolved or addressed.

Justin Ackerman | Argonaut

Justin Ackerman | Argonaut

The inability of state and local government to address society’s problems affects everyone.

To prevent these problems, it is important  to step back and  realize the true purpose of government,  and realize that  winning elections are not the most important thing. State and local issues are not limited to election cycles, they are ever present and should be constantly reiterated.

Sticking it to the other side should never come before well thought out and effective solutions to  societies problems. It is often  hard to give the other side deserved credit, but it  must be done.

Government decisions affect everyone, and it’s important to minimize the ill effects and maximize the benefits for all, regardless of who gets us there.

Not every Democrat is a big state loving totalitarian who wants to take your guns and free speech from you. Not every Republican is a greedy old white guy who only cares about profits and does not mind seeing the impoverished starve. Those examples are incredibly extreme, but strict partisanship sometimes lends itself to extremely negative sentiment.

Such thoughts can hinder our legislative process and let good ideas fall through the cracks, and potentially let bad ideas in.

It is important to remember that in the voting booth, voting strictly on party alliance is bad for everybody. If your party always has good ideas, then by all means vote accordingly, but sadly politics are seldom that simple.

Each side is guilty of sensationalism and mudslinging, but why is ideology the main concern when legitimate criticisms are always present. For example, look at some of Republican Raul Labrador’s 2010 campaign ads attacking his Democratic challenger Walt Minnick. Many of them pointed out his party affiliation and little else, slamming him for the D next to his name and not his policies. Many concerns in these ads were overly politicized, overly simplified and lacked substance.

Politicians make plenty of mistakes and they say plenty of questionable things, regardless of who they appeal to. When shopping for politicians look for substance, look for ideas, do not let a donkey or an elephant be the deciding factor.

A letter next to a name should never be enough to swing a vote, let alone an election. The ideas behind that name are what counts, and it is critical in a democracy.

Justin Ackerman can be reached at arg-opinion@uidaho.edu

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