Beliefnet
Progressive Revival

There are clearly major problems to be considered at this time in US electoral history. the economy, foreign policy, and the blurring of lines between combatants and non-combatants, for instance. But it’s just possible that there are obstacles in the system itself that make those issues difficult to deal with.

For instance: When did party politics begin to supercede personal conscience? In this particular electoral season, for instance, the cry of the parties was for ‘party unity’ long before the voters had registered their final choices in either party. The Democrats began to din ‘superdelegates’ in March to fall in line behind one candidate despite the fact that there were weeks, even months, to go before the convention that is meant to choose candidates.  

Question: What happens to a democracy in which “the party line” supercedes personal conscience? Are we electing the party or the person who, we can now guarantee will vote with the party at all times. Have we built gridlock into the system?

And while we’re talking about conscience: What happens to other voices in the country as an increasingly stronger two-party system crowds them out of the electoral arena. In some countries proportional voting brings all the voices to the table at once. If the Greens get three percent of the popular vote, they get three percent of the seats at issue. But where in our system do other voices go? And is that slowing this country’s consciousness of emerging issues like greening, trafficking and immigration. Among others.  

Maybe we should be discussing  political issues like these before democracy becomes more a rallying cry in the American imagination than the real thing and personal conscience becomes a thing of the past. 

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