The United States of America quantifies individuals based on the labels attached to them. From labels as basic as one’s gender, race, or socioeconomic status, to the more specific things such as career, hobbies, and even one’s favorite type of food, society cannot get enough of placing diverse people into clean cut boxes. Modern American politics follows this exact same ideology. Our form of government has thrown one more descriptor to hold people to, Democrat or Republican. This leaves one question begging to be answered in my mind, does American politics unit or divide us?
The piece of work that started my curiosity with this question was a reading that explored the fundamentally different mentalities of Democrats and Republicans. The piece itself had very good reasoning, and a much needed third party view to now cloud the piece. However, what I took away from it was that each party views the other party as a crazy and contradictory body of people. Now the sole purpose of us having a government is in order to serve the people. It is present to protect their rights and help them. How is a system helping if it simultaneously draws a thick line in the sand leaving every person another one to blame for their circumstances?
Within assignments like our campaign project I learned about the detailed and calculated maneuverings within a campaign that can help bring a candidate to success. Politics is a cutthroat game. Candidates publish and print out hit ads that target their opponent’s biggest weaknesses. The creation of a clear government was essential to American success. However, the politics that derive from this necessary occurrence is hurtful. The cutthroat tendencies of human nature have infected a “human help” system. It was fascinating to see my peers and myself temporarily turn into campaign masterminds. We purposefully played into the game of politics and created pieces that shined a bright light on our candidate while smashing down on her competition.
One instance within the campaign project that really made this point sing was the hit piece of the other group. They printed bright red flyers that targeted a supposed “family man” for abandoning a child he had in his teen years. Within normal conversation one would never dream to bring up this information to large bodies of people, let alone to the candidate themselves. However, politics seem to have different rules than our social norms and common courtesy. You are allowed to print a flyer with intimate and cruel details of a person’s life and hand them out to hundreds, or even thousands, of people.
Then comes the other side of the coin, politics can unite people from all across the company, and from all walks of life. Every morning I wake up and recent pop culture events flood my phone. Right alongside “who wore it best” will be political headlines about Trump, Hillary, Cruz, or Sanders. Presidential elections, specifically, have a way of uniting those who may not connect otherwise. Government unites us all under one nation. I have seen this now more than ever. Media is everywhere in every form. A benefit that arises from this is that news really does travel fast. I have found myself engaged in conversations on political topics that at the beginning of this semester I felt were over my head. I have been able to speak up when the presidential election comes up at the dinner table. I feel connected to a greater body of people than ever before. I owe that not only to the power of politics as a whole, but to this class.