For those of you who follow national and world current events, you are well aware of the situation that occurred in Greece in the last month. For those of you who do not follow world affairs, the country of Greece has found themselves in incredible debt. Given their thirty-five hour a week work week and a system that is based upon heavy pensions and social security for retirees, there currently is no way that the country can get out of its debt. The banks throughout Europe have clamored for the restructuring of Greek fiscal policy including cutbacks to those pensioners and social security beneficiaries.
This demand by the European banks and put into place by the European Union was originally accepted by the Greek government. However, because of these concessions, elections were held throughout Greece and rather than the center parties that had controlled Greek politics for years, the fringe parties garnered the most votes leaving the country with no definable winner and no definable policy and agenda.
Most likely new elections will have to take place in order for there to be a government formed under their parliamentary system. Obviously, the results of these new elections may yield the exact same turmoil with the far right parties gaining power and the far left parties gaining power. Leaving the country where the extremes have the power and there can be no compromise and coexistence.
If the United States was a parliamentary system where there were many parties that have the ability to control power rather than just two, we just might be in the same political mess as Greece. It appears, that in the United States, that the big picture is being lost and rather is that little special interest that wags the tail of the voting dog.
There are those who see abortion as the only issue. A candidate in favor of a woman’s right to choose automatically is the candidate they cannot vote for. Regardless of what the other policies of that candidate are, it is immaterial. This issue is just too far important. On the other side, there are those who believe that a woman’s right to choose is paramount and could never vote for somebody who believed that life begins at conception.
There is the evangelical vote. Somehow, regardless of the candidate’s other virtues, his compassion, his belief in helping the poor, believes in the betterment of mankind, should that candidate believe in the heresy of evolution as opposed to the dogma of intelligent design.
Then there are the gay and lesbian voters, whose desires for equal rights and equal protections triumph all and will only vote for a candidate who believes in the same. They of course are opposed on the opposite side by the voters who see same sex marriage as the end of the civilized world and the destruction of the sacred bond between man and woman. There are also ethnic voters. Traditionally, the Jewish vote went Democratic, but more and more it seems to be splintered off by those who value a candidate only by their strength of allegiance to the State of Israel. Or there are the Cuban voters who still remember the “Bay of Pigs” and how President Kennedy botched the over throw of Castro and the retaking of Cuba. For them, Democrats can never be trusted and they can only see the Republican candidate. On the other hand, there are the other Latino voters who view the Republican policy against immigration or naturalization as a personal affront and are strongly in favor of Democratic candidates who favor amnesty.
Of course, there are many, many more personal interest groups. Those who believe in social security and welfare and those that oppose it. Those that are against anybody who says that they will raise taxes or not pledge allegiance to no new taxes and those who are aligned with the occupy movement. For every person who finds himself in one of these groups, obviously there are those who do not follow the pattern and actually see the bigger picture.
Were we a country like Greece, it appears that we would be in the same political situation as they are. Those who believe in moderation, those that are in the middle of road would be drowned out by those from the special interest groups who only see one issue and to them it is a live and die issue. Fortunately, we are not a parliamentary system. And because we are not a parliamentary system and have two strong political parties moderation, temperance and coexistence with compromise have a chance.
We say a chance, because as long as the political parties allow those who have only one special interest to tug them in a certain direction, there can be no hope of consensus and there can be no hope of compromise and moderation. We are not a country of fringe, but we are a country of coexistence. It is time that the leaders of both parties stop pandering to the fringes and started pandering the vast majority of Americans who occupy the middle. It is time that those Americans on the fringes who only see one special interest, take a step back and look at the big picture. There are many, many good candidates from both parties that don’t share that one specific view that is so important to one specific voter. This alone should not tarnish that candidate. Rather, his whole body of work. Her whole body of ideas. And their entire stance should be looked at by every voter and every voter should make a well-rounded decision as to who to vote for not just based upon one idea.