By Bailey Hussung
Amid a mass of ill-fitting corduroy, cheap cologne and unfortunate sweater vests, I observed the current state of American politics. I, along with others from the charity I work with, was invited to a Republican Party dinner, a great opportunity for a small charity like us to get the word out. Many influential community members would be there, and I was excited to mingle and chat with local movers-and-shakers. However, what I found there was almost sickening.
Here I had come in, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to launch into my spiel about the service I do and ways to get involved. Instead, I found that the people were only concerned with their own accomplishments. I can’t say how many times the topic was turned from our charity to what college they went to, how much they’d done for the party, how much money they’d raised, how many times they’d spoken with the governor, etc. I stepped back just to look at the crowd. Conversations like the one I had just had were happening throughout the room: tight, fake smiles, petty compliments and judgemental eyes, none the genuine care for the community I had hoped for.
Being a teenaged girl, I am no stranger to gossip, but what these people did put our gossip to shame. Old women in hushed tones pointed their long, hypocritical fingernails at an unlucky victims across the room, telling their companions of divorces, bankruptcies and personal failures.
But nothing in the world was worse to them than being a Democrat. These disgusting, vile people, they said, were Communists, corrupt and needed to be impeached. Talk was of ways to dethrone Democrats, not fixing our community. While we were eating dinner, a crude gif of various Democratic Party members with their heads photoshopped onto gyrating bodies played on a projector screen. I might have expected this out of my 13-year-old brother, not the leaders of our state.
These kinds of things happen in both parties, which is the problem. Here we were, active and involved young people, and none of the many politicians in attendance even bothered to speak to us. They were too concerned with shaking the same hands over and over, and complementing the same cheap brooches. Young people are undeniably the future of the country; and if I was a public official looking for vote, the three impressionable young girls standing in the middle of the room would be who I would go for. Politicians are too disconnected with the sentiments and desires of the younger generation.
The parties, in addition to hating each other, are not even united from within. Harpies and dispassionate elderly men looking for reelection tore each other apart, then asked about the grandchildren.The backstabbing attitude was not even put aside for a small fundraising dinner. Instead of self-serving, public officials should look to build others up, that way truly the strongest, most qualified candidate from the party gets the job, making the whole party look good.
The hatred of the other party was just downright ridiculous. So what, they have different views on tax reforms, budgets, and healthcare, but does that really qualify them as “America-hating anarchists?” No. We all live in the same country and want what is best. Simply acknowledging that fact is something both parties fail to do. They get so caught up in arguing with each other, they lose sight of benefitting the American people.
With disfunction in all levels of our government, it’s easy to see why bipartisanship is almost nonexistent. Teamwork and compromise, principles this country was founded on, have been forgotten in the self-serving environment of politics. After seeing where this disagreement and grief has gotten us, can our generation do any better?