How did we get here? Every American is seeing the divide in this country. Especially when it comes to politics. Conservatives vs Liberals. It is a tale as old as time. However, things are not red or blue (Democrat vs Republican). In fact, there was a time when politics was purple. Just like most people in our country even now . But what changed? What happened to make things go so far?
History of the Two-Party System
Honestly, I think the Founding Fathers recognized partisan politics is disastrous. Too bad people did not listen. Early political matters in the 1790s caused two parties to form around Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. The antics of these two parties ended in 1816, leading to the Era of Good Feelings. This was an era of national purpose and unification in politics. President James Monroe was focused on riding political parties from national politics. People were at a consensus that the parties were over. Well, that was until partisan politics reared its ugly head again a decade later. Then stuck around, trapping everyone in its sticky mess. And leading the ‘Us vs Them’ mentality of both Conservative and Liberal parties.
Early Years of Democrats vs. Republicans
Both Republican and Democratic parties formed around the 1850s. And was the beginning of the worst thing that could happen to America. Although the Era of Good Feelings was trying to destroy partisanship in national politics, both parties were determined to stay. These parties began to uphold different philosophies. For Conservatives, they believe in the independence of individuals and the free market. Meanwhile, Liberals promote government regulation and social responsibility.
Despite different ideals, these two parties passed bipartisan bills frequently. Partisanship was pushed aside and people were able to collaborate. In fact, there are many noticeable events like civil rights, tax reforms were only possible because the parties knew when to drop their identities. However, the modern era of politics has forgotten what it means to do that.
Red vs. Blue Now: ‘Us vs Them’
In recent years, the Red vs. Blue dynamic has become a battlefield. Despite the fact that core principles of these parties still exist, their politics have gotten out of hand. In fact, it is almost a parody of itself. Unfortunately, this parody of partisanship destroys everything. In the last decades, people have become so tangled in the party system that it has become polarized. It has seeped so deep that people will now judge people on affiliation. The people began to see the opposite as a threat to America, creating the largest tension between parties. But what caused this?
In the early years, conservatives and liberals had philosophies that still could coordinate. However, the divide started to form after 2001. After 9/11, the Patriot Act was passed with bipartisanship. Despite this, it caused Democrats and Republicans to be resentful towards the other party. And the partisanship grew deeper as the Great Recession came. As time passed, bipartisan voting became less and less. To the point where partisan voting is uncertain. This new normal has caused the Republicans and Democrats to treat each other as enemies. And this evolution has changed their political beliefs and alignments. This is due (in no small part) to the proliferation of media sources on the Internet.
Conservative vs Liberal Divide
With a clear divide, the political beliefs and alignments have changed in politics. In fact, it is such a drastic change that the core concept is lost. People have become so absorbed into these identities that they increase to the radical extreme of their beliefs. Liberals have gone from social responsibility and simple regulations to wanting to implement government control throughout and openly denouncing others' rights. Meanwhile, conservatives have been responding by digging deeper into nationalism with rights of the people and overt distrust of government regulations
The biggest change is the acceptance of difference. Both political parties have become dogmatic in their political identity. Anyone that does not agree with them is the enemy. Despite the fact, the majority of people are shades of purple. Politicians have been putting their partisan beliefs over their responsibilities. Gaslighting each other and causing more conflict. Without a doubt, the parties have changed. Especially when it comes to their core principles and responsibilities.
Partisanship Has Got To Go
Although partisanship has existed for a long time, modern conservatives and liberals have taken it to a new level. The divide has warped the ideals of both parties, taking them away from the bipartisanship and distorting the perspectives of each other. This has to stop. We need a renewal of the Era of Good Feelings. Because the evolution of conservatives vs liberals has made government “for the people” nearly impossible. A future can only exist if Americans can change the modern liberal vs conservative mindset.