It’s time to bring a balance
Dichotomy: A division or contrast between two things that are or are represented as being opposed or entirely different. Repeated branching into two equal parts. “Society’s natural gravitation towards in-group/out-group dichotomies poses a serious threat to humankind as it facilitates the creation of hierarchies of domination, fear, and hate.” (Unable to identify source)
The “equality” inherent in the definition of dichotomy is difficult to maintain. In every us versus them there develops a besting of one over the other that leads to winners and losers, and sometimes control of one over the other.Our tendency toward social dichotomy is evident for example in our affinity for sports as a national pastime which are set up with two opponents vying against each other, one winning, one losing.
Our political party system organically developed as a dichotomy. The original two parties were the Federalist led by Alexander Hamilton, and the Democratic-Republican led by Thomas Jefferson. Factoring into early party splits were strength of central government, slavery, and foreign policy differences. The parties have changed names and morphed over the years, but always ended up as one vs the other.For the last 150 years, the two main parties have been the Republican and the Democratic.
The democratic republic that is our federal government was founded on equality. Though some were left out at the time, the Constitution nevertheless was written to account for the social changes to come so that equality could be maintained throughout those changes. It allowed for this flexibility, though an “originalist” faction is now gaining power that interprets it differently and wants to backtrack the changes that have been made to keep up the balance of equality.
So why is this plan going off the rails? It’s the differences that are being represented by one group over another in order to destabilize the balance and dominate. Our party system has become an in-group/out-group, rather than equals. The checks and balances in our Constitution only work if both parties adhere to them.
When one ignores them, the plan suffers. For our government to act in the common good, it needs to follow the founders’ guidelines and cooperate on equal footing.
Senate leader Mitch McConnell’s philosophy is one of obstruction. President Trump’s is one of divisiveness and domination. This combination has led to mistrust, fear, and hatred of one another and now we are unable to listen or work together. Those of us caught in the middle are begging for reconciliation.
Even at a local level, the imbalance between Democrats and Republicans is pronounced. Regarding the campaign for our 23rd Congressional district, editor John D’Agostino wrote “battling Reed … is about being engulfed by a red southern tier overcoat that comes with a pair of blue mittens … hitting the trail with nifty two-door sedans … while Reed rides in a limousine of power. In reality, the district does not have that many more Republicans than Democrats, and unaffiliated voters make up a large portion, but it is just who gets the upper hand through support of corporate PACs, outside money, and sometimes dubious campaign tactics, such as ads that look like trailers for horror flicks from the 1950s and bricks that came from unknown sources. Tracy Mitrano has run a grass-roots campaign, and her supporters may drive sedans, but they will be who she is accountable to when she gets to Congress.
We are lucky to have a presidential candidate, Joe Biden, who is running on uniting us, restoring normalcy and balance. He’s not looking to jerk the scale all the way to the left, but to get us back to equilibrium. Unfortunately, many have gradually absorbed too much of the untruthful rhetoric and biased, conspiracy-laden faux news to see that. An injection of truth serum along with the Covid vaccine may be the antidote for the group-think. (Not using the over-worked Kool-aid reference.)
It is crucial that our votes are a result of rational decision-making to balance the cult mentality of Trump’s followers. Critical thinking rejects the improbability of the conspiracies and lies that Republicans want us to believe in order to wrest total control of the government. They already control the executive and half of the legislative, continually obstructing any input from the Democratic party. With the ramrodded installation of the new SCOTUS, they have dramatically unbalanced the scales of justice also.
Voting Democratic will not mean that socialist, antifa radical leftists will be removing our windows or taking away our guns, or even raising our taxes (unless you make more than $400,000 annually, in which case you should be comfortably set enough to contribute to a nicely paved road leading to your nicely paved driveway). It will mean reestablishing a balance. Biden and Kamala Harris, Tracy Mitrano, and local Democratic candidates down the ballot are not radicals. They want to restore our democratic processes and stop the authoritarian progression our country is now on.
Early voting is still open this weekend from noon to 5 p.m. On Tuesday, Election Day, the regular polls will be open all day.
Let’s bring balance back to our country. When we all vote, we tell our elected officials that we want less dichotomy and more democracy.
Susan Bigler is a Sheridan resident. Send comments to email@example.com