Blake Gerard Op Ed
The United States Government has a Severe Lack of Kindness
On March second, a law prohibiting transgender women from participating in women’s sports in the state of Iowa was signed into law. Since President Biden took office, Republican legislatures across the country have passed a plethora of bills that restrict the rights of, discourage, and attack the LGBTQ community. The Florida house of representatives and senate recently passed a bill prohibiting “the discussion of sexuality and gender identity in the classroom.” I wasn’t upset just because this was an attack on personal freedoms, but because it was an attack on the LGBTQ community. As a bisexual man, I view each and every attack levied against other members of the community as an attack on myself, as an attack on who I am, and as a way of saying we don’t deserve the same rights as everyone else.
The Republican party has become the party of hate. The party that once freed the slaves now defends police who kill unarmed black men. The party that was once at the forefront of social and economic progress now restricts the rights of minorities and defends multi-billion dollar corporations that exploit their workers. The party that once passed the fourteenth amendment now advocates for more restrictive voting laws. Grant, Lincoln, and Roosevelt are rolling in their graves.
The Democratic party is not innocent either. Supporting gay marriage was not a mainstream position for the party to hold until the last decade or two. The party that brands itself as the party of progressive, equitable, and ethical politics sells out to multi-billion dollar corporations in exchange for campaign contributions. The difference is Democrats try to hide their prejudices. They sign laws that harm African-Americans with a Martin Luther King Jr. quote draped on the wall behind them.
The state of politics in the United States is one of the worst in the developed world. Both major parties are financed by corporations, both parties support non-equitable economics, and both parties constantly lie. Nearly every member of the United States Congress has only one interest in mind: keeping their job. When you have a group so focused on keeping their job, there isn’t a lot of actually doing the job.
So how did we get here?
I’d argue it’s because of a lack of kindness. It isn’t just in elected officials, it’s a problem with many of the people in the United States. Democrats hate Republicans, and Republicans hate Democrats. Politicians in both parties hate one another because they compete for the same jobs. Citizens that identify with each party hate one another because their elected officials hate each other. The odds of an ethical person trying to take down an established member of congress are almost zero. Third parties are written off as a wasted vote or a spoiler and are hated by staunch members of both parties.
It all boils down to one thing: nobody can win an election by acting in a kind manner. To compete with someone who already has a seat in congress and has for years, you have to be willing to get as dirty as they are. Whatever your intentions are when starting the campaign, you have to sacrifice your morals to actually win the seat. In doing that, you’ve become the same as whom you replaced. American politics are an unending race to the bottom.
By forcing people to give up their morals in order to create change, the United States government sends a clear message: kindness is not welcome in politics.