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Political parties are necessary part of democracy

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During presidential elections, many voters express their disillusionment with political parties and their uses.

A lot of educated voters like to cite President George Washington’s Farewell Address where he specifically warned against forming political parties. However, few remember that James Madison theorized that political factions would be inevitable in U.S. politics.

While I would agree with Washington that political parties can be harmful, Madison’s theory was correct. Political parties are inevitable in American politics, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.

People have three options in dealing with this issue if they are against the platforms of the two major parties. The easiest option is to not be in any of them. Some people think if Washington didn’t like political parties then they won’t be a part of them either.

The second option would be to join a third or alternative party such as the Libertarian Party or the Green Party. This would be anti-establishment, which would attract a lot of young voters that are just beginning to participate in politics.

The third option, I believe, is the most effective way to stop a major party platform from being terrible: Join one.

Political parties can be a necessary part of a healthy democratic republic. A united country does not have to mean a united front of ideas and cultures — you just have to have a basic understanding of community with your fellow Americans.

You do not have to agree with each other to still be a fellow citizen. Political parties can give that opportunity to voters.

Political science senior Stephanie Gomez also believes in this opportunity and our right to participate in politics.

“I think (political parties are) good, although the U.S. system isn’t perfect,” Gomez said. “(Political parties) allow people to basically understand what a platform is going to be. They might not know everything about a candidate, but they’ll know that their interests probably align since they both support something.”

The party platforms will be forced to adjust to the ordinary citizen’s wishes if more voters participate in political parties. Some might say that political parties are a sign of division, but that can be beneficial for the nation.

“In any culture that accepts freedom of thought and speech there’s always going to be some divisiveness between various cultures,” said Stephen Nunez, an economics junior. “I think it’s a human condition (that) differing ideas will compete in a free market of ideas until the most efficient (idea) for society is chosen.”

Maybe the major political parties have too much power over the country. If you think so, then you should join one that most aligns with your political ideology. If you are not happy with the party leadership, learn how the party works and hold its leaders accountable.

Convince your fellow party members to seek a change in party direction. If you really want to see a change in the political conversation, make the change yourself. Run for office even if you’re an average Joe. If you want your party to focus on benefits of your party platform rather than the faults of the other party’s, participate in politics and let people know.

When you don’t join in, do not be surprised when the system affects your life in a way you do not condone. Do not expect the system to change when you do nothing to help change it.

Opinion columnist Samuel Pichowsky is a political science sophomore and may be reached at [email protected]

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