Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Why I Hate The Two-Party System

The title of this post is perhaps a little strong. I can't hate a two-party system completely as I've yet to learn of a better system. When I have political discussions with Canadian or Indian friends, for example, about their countries political system, I always come away with a greater respect for the founding fathers. It should be noted, however, that many of the founding fathers were opposed to the idea of political parties.

But I was reminded again of the aspect of the two-party system I don't like the most--the adversarial nature it brings out in people. From a NYTimes editorial:
“Two years ago, winning 14 seats in the House would have been a pipe dream,” said Matt Bennett, a founder of Third Way, a moderate Democratic organization. Now, Mr. Bennett said, failure to win the House, even by one seat, would send Democrats diving under their beds (not to mention what it might do to all the pundits).

“It would be crushing,” he said. “It would be extremely difficult.”

Mr. Cook put it more succinctly. “I think you’d see a Jim Jones situation — it would be a mass suicide,” he said.
Put it succinctly? I would hope Mr. Cook's statement has no basis in reality. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of rooting for "your team" and certainly the energy interjected by the Bush Derangement Syndrome of many involved is only making matters worse. But I wish people would realize that in the end, we are all on the same team.

I've been reminded recently that one of the most important aspects of a democracy is accepting that sometimes your view will be in the minority and respecting the majority view. You may not like it, you may be motivated to change it, but you respect the democratic process enough not to destructively react to it.

The Republicans may hold both sides of Congress today. The Democrats may take one or both sides back. Any outcome is within the realm of possibility. Whatever the final tallies, neither side should be so upset that the only analogy that comes to mind is joking about mass-suicide.

As Ann Althouse said, commenting on the same quote, "Wow, calm down people! It's just politics."