Bipolar Schizophrenic Politics: Democrats vs Republicans

by Donald R. Barbera

It's lying season again. That means that politicians will be coming out with their best suits and best coats of armor to entice the people to vote for them. Both, Democrats and Republicans will be vying for your vote and at some point, we will give it to them, but before we do, here are a few thoughts that crossed my mind.

Democrats. Republicans. Those words did not hold much meaning for me as a child because I was unaware of what they meant or what they stood for in the United States. Now, that I understand what those words mean and what they stand for in the United States; these words hold even less meaning than they did when I was a child. The greatness of the United States lies in the words that it has so eloquently generated concerning the inalienable rights of man, the concept of all men being created equal and the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

Unfortunately, we have been unable to live up to those words or the concepts. It is not that the words are beyond our grasp, rather; they are beyond our capacity. As a product of a bipolar society is the primary reason the words Democrats and Republicans mean little to me personally and even less in the overall context with the stated mission of the United States. The bipolar mind drives the United States in its manic excesses. Most countries, except those emulating the United States, have a multi-party political system realizing that one, two or even three parties is not enough to represent the will of all of its people. Politics in these countries are lively and even unpredictable at times. Multiple parties require the building of coalitions and reaching out to all members of society if that group is to have a chance to gain power or stay in power.

Unfortunately, race and religion have polarized "thinking" in the United States and has led to political expediency rather than political excellence; political posturing rather than honesty; and, the subsidization of hatred rather than the mending of wounds. Sadly, I believe it stems from how this country began more than four hundred years ago.

Many settlers came to this country came to escape religious tyranny at the hands of the British. However, once they arrived they invoked their own brand of religious intolerance upon anyone who did not believe as they did. Still, they were only following the Protestant tradition started by Martin Luther.

Once Luther broke from the Catholic Church, the split among the Protestants proceeded at a geometric rate and continued once it reached the New World. The interesting past of these religious rifts was the surety of its followers that they were right and everyone else was wrong despite the fact that many of the people they persecuted claimed to believe in the same God. Though the first Africans in this country came as slaves of the Spanish in the 1500s, it took the British to put the other part of the American psyche together to make for complete schizophrenia. At first, the number of white settlers and African slaves were few. In fact, slaves usually outnumbered whites. It was not unusual for Indians, Africans and whites to consort, but this changed as a pseudo aristocracy arrived in the New World. This was the true beginning of slavery in the United States.

Up until the mid-1800' the church remained virtually silent on the institution of slavery even though its greatest book, "The Bible", held enough tenants to halt the spread of slavery if "the church" had wanted it. However, the history of Christianity is replete with riding on the "band wagon" and not "rocking the boat" when it comes doing what is right. Eventually, to solve this "potentially" moral predicament "European" whites came up with the idea that the darker races of the earth were inherently subservient to the so-called white race, even though they had put whites into indentured servitude for years before this idea.

However, by coming up with this idea, whites had an unending supply of free labor for every child born to a slave was immediately a piece of property and a slave for life. Later, the one-drop rule of hypodescent further served to rid white America of the hybrid children it had sired by making sure that any one with a drop of black blood would be part of the slave class.

It all seemed to work well except the very things that had brought them to this country; religious freedom and the concept of freedom itself, resurrected themselves and caused a moral quandary for the country. Shortly after this enlightenment came the Civil War. The Civil War killed thousands of American young men from the North and South and yet, it seems, no lessons were learned.

Why? The answer is complex and involves religion, human nature and ideals. The United States has not lived up to its lofty ideal. It has not faced itself in the mirror and seen Dorian Grey. This hideous nature of the United States is wrapped securely in our bipolar nature. A history of racism is the underlying mindset of the United States and only serves to emphasize this repulsive nature. Everything is set up to be a win or lose situation. There is no room for permutations of gray. That is the problem.

Most human beings have the capacity to see what is right and what is wrong and the shades of gray between the two. Unfortunately, the two party system makes no room for this reality and asks us to shoehorn our way into a system that does not fit. Once of the most interesting fetes in recent political history was the introduction of a third party with a candidate who was actually drawing considerable attention and forcing the established power bases to actually address issues rather than trot out tired old palliatives.

However, that bid failed and its back to business as usual. That is why I believe that black people need to start using their political power to reward and punish. That is as simple as it gets. The Democratic Party has long taken the black vote for granted doing only what was not politically hazardous to staying in office. It was once the same for the Republican Party before Woodrow Wilson ruined that for the GOP.

Bits and pieces for the black community filter down on a regular basis but bits and pieces are not enough. Only full enfranchisement is acceptable. If that means changing votes regularly, then, that is what we must do. Damn the Democrats and reject the Republicans. Let's vote them in and then vote them out until they get the message, which is simply, "don't take us for granted."

Bipolar Schizophrenic Politics: Democrats vs Republicans by Donald R. Barbera

© Copyright 1999. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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