My View: Divisive 'new reality' pits being correct against compromise

Partisanship has long been featured as a prevalent and engrained part of the American political landscape. We argue about welfare and weapons, taxes and immigration — and just about everything in between.

The problem is that for a majority of us, it has simply become routine. It serves as an inevitable product of a political process that seemingly puts more emphasis on argument than actual results.

But for millions of Americans living in today’s “new reality” in the United States, this routine is breaking down our political relationships and putting our common goals further and further out of reach.

When I say new reality, I mean a country that cares more about arguing with one another than working toward our future. I mean a population of people who have less faith in the government and in one another than ever before. I mean a partisanship so deep that it is threatening to forever alter what our families and our military veterans have worked and fought for.

It’s selfish. It’s wrong. It’s threatening to compromise your future and mine.

Some politicians and common people alike might argue that disagreement is an inevitable part of human nature. But at what point did we decide that disagreeing with one another for the sake of being correct was more important than the pursuit of positive results? Perhaps if we weren’t so wrapped up in the idea of who’s right and who’s wrong, compromise would become a natural part of our politics rather than a forced one.

We cannot expect to grow stronger in any facet of our domestic unit until we figure out how we’re going to work with one another. We have created a system so egregiously rooted in argument that it’s nearly impossible to sustain. It’s not how it should be, and certainly not what our parents and grandparents had imagined it to be.

Until we stop trying to manipulate and sabotage one another on the issues affecting us most, we can’t and we won’t move forward and achieve common progress.

According to a poll by Yahoo Finance, 41 percent of Americans believe that the American Dream is lost. Furthermore, only 44 percent of parents believe that their children will be better off than themselves.

Doesn’t quite sound like white picket fence optimism, does it?

Though a shrinking job market and a decreasing return on educational investments are dominantly reflective in these statistics, our belief in achievement has been diminished by a government that is putting their political interests above the greater good of their constituents. They continue to corroborate, through their actions, an ideology that actually encourages disagreement instead of compromise.

In a comparative analysis by the nonpartisan voting statistics agency, party polarization in the 112th Congress has reached its highest point in recorded history. Reasons for this extreme polarization in both the Senate and House are endless, but dominantly revolve around a constant struggle for political power and influence.

What the government has failed to realize is the negative effect that this has had on constituents’ faith in our political system and government agencies, and our ability to effectually work with one another to come up with solutions.

I don’t contend that the damage is irreparable, or that any single person or party is to blame. What’s to blame in this “new reality” is the prevailing idea that the problems most pressing to us today are solely political issues and no longer people ones.

Our government has an inherent and exigent responsibility to build a better and more sustainable future for its citizens. It starts with compromise. It starts with action. It starts with change that is seen, and not just talked about.

It should start right now.

Chris Morgan, a former Portland resident who attended high school in Vancouver, Wash., is a pre-law student and director of student legal services at Washington State University in Pullman.

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