Thursday, January 06, 2005

Unite the Clans

Working special events in the Library of Congress affords special opportunities and insights into American Politics, such as attending the Black Caucus, a Democratic caucus, a members-only GOP senators' meeting, and speeches by Obama. Although I officially did NOT hear anything from within the GOP meeting, I continue to be amazed at the degree of "Us vs. Them" sentiment in American politics. I've continued to praise unaffiliated or indepentent voices, such as FactCheck, Colin Powell, or McCain. I share this view with my hero, Jon Stewart.

Jon Stewart first became my hero for tearing into CNN's Crossfire, and especially their conservative host Tucker Carlson. He condemned them for providing no unbiased news source, and accused them (in a witty fashion, as always) of being political hacks. So it was with a huge grin on my face that I read in the Washington Post today that CNN is cancelling Crossfire. Upon reading the headline, I suspected that Jon Stewart's publicity had something to do with the program's closure, and my suspicious were confirmed beyond any doubt in the article. "CNN/U.S. President Jonathan Klein sided yesterday with comedian Jon Stewart... 'I think he made a good point about the noise level of these types of shows, which does nothing to illuminate the issues of the day,' Klein said in an interview."

But it's not enough for me to just point out that we have too much of a two-party system. What can we do to, as the Warcraft 2 cheat went, 'Unite the Clans'? I maintain that the simplest and most significant way to strike a blow to the partisan status quo would be to change our plurality voting system to approval voting. By giving smaller parties a chance for some power, the major two parties would lose some of their vice-like grip on the capitol. Sure, coalitions could still form, but there would be more room for compromise, and more different voices being heard. I'm sure it wouldn't solve all of our problems, but it would be a start. It's not enough to complain and notice problems in our government, we need to brainstorm solutions. And since there's no built-in cheat code to win, we have to do things the hard way.


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