By Kiersten Meehan
To put it simply, this year’s 2014 midterm elections were a bit lackluster, unsurprising and well, terribly anticlimactic. The Republicans had a decisive victory, comfortably sweeping up both the House and Senate with ease. The low voter turnout and popular disinterest also echoed the insipid nature of this election. Not to mention, the seldom few who did end up voting are hardly to be considered optimists, as even they are weary of this political gridlock coming to resolute end. In truth, the chances of turning around this “lame duck” period seem grim and the persistent stalemate will likely ensue. Though one may think being empowered with both chambers might give the Republicans a decent shot at repealing policies such as Obamacare and making immigration reforms but ultimately, the veto still lies in Obama’s power.
Thus, evidently, this election appears to be the embodiment of insignificance, undeserving of neither attention nor scrutiny. Because sure, both left and right sides refuse to budge. Also, after years of low productivity levels and noncompliance, faith in U.S. governmental progress seems to be lost, along with that motivating 2008 “Yes We Can” attitude that was felt not only domestically but universally as well. So, from this perspective, one might feel warranted in turning their back on this election, their political party, and perhaps the rest of this term.
But should you? No. Should you instead… care? Yes.
Despite what country you may be reading this from or what land you might call your home, a general lesson applicable to everyone can be learnt from this election.
Intellectuals and politicians across the globe are calling Obama the “shrinking president” (NYTimes.com). His own party abandoned him. Two-thirds did not even vote, with the youth making up a dramatically unimpressive 13% (NBC News.com). Meanwhile, Obama would rather sit paralyzed in a gridlock than attempt to compromise. On the other end of the spectrum, we have the Republicans buying support, splurging close to $2 billion and even committing supposed accounts of fraud just to ensure better footing than their opponents.
Where in this callow mess are the national goals? Political principles? Values? Surely, they are absent but the politicians aren’t the only ones to blame.
Because, when you look closer, you see how similar these parties really can be. The Republican campaign heavily focused on core aspects of the liberal agenda. Republican candidate, Dan Sullivan, of Alaska, called attention to unemployment. Rob Maness, who ran in Louisiana, advocated minority rights. The list goes on. Obama also has major Republican interests in areas such as economics. He is a big supporter of the Trans-pacific and Transatlantic partnership agreements, which coincides with right-wing priorities. There is so much potential for compatibility but no one, not even the voters, seem to want it.
These elites are not necessarily shrinking but their accountability sure is. If a country turns its back on its political system, politicians are free to do as much or as little as they please. In the wake of the tremendous ailments currently inflicting our world, ranging from economic recessions to Ebola, there is no room for citizens to be unconcerned or uninterested in their nation’s politics.
So whatever nationality you might bear or whichever political affiliation you might associate with, take this as a reminder to re-instill your principles and political beliefs. Take initiative. Educate yourself. Participate. And help be the change you wish to see. Accountability has to start somewhere.