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Casey Kitchel

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Political parties should be banned in the United States of America.

In George Washington's 1796 Farewell Address, President Washington warned the American people of the dangers political parties pose to the nation's government (that of the United States under the Constitution). Considering the current government's stalemate and the abilities of political parties to “divide a nation”, it seems most evident that he was right in expressing his concerns for the future of this country and for the welfare of its people.

As it appears, elected officials are more concerned with maintaining their own party's control over their rivals rather than serving the interests of the people and opens up the debate on whether political parties should continue to dominate politics in the United States of America at the expense of the American people and at the expense of a functioning government.

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    Jun 17 2013: Political parties have not divided America. Individual ideologies have polarized America. Political parties are merely the organizations where like-minded people congregate to focus and amplify their political clout. 47% of Americans want the government to be responsble for virtually everything. 6% of Americans don't have an opinion about the issues on which we vote. The remaining 47% want constitutional government with all power not specifically given to the federal government to belong to the People or the State. We may be witnessing the birth of a fourth party in America, but for now we have Liberals, the Ignorant and Apathetic "party", and Conservatives. No one is forced to be in any party. Each person expresses their ideology by aligning with a party. Besides, what would a one-party nation look like anyway?
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        Jun 21 2013: Is that you in the video? (Not that I am trying to label you). I agree that the affinity we have for labels, as an organizational tool for all the information we have, has a dark downside. We put too much stock in labels. We treat labels as though they are unassailably correct. We greatly oversimplify an issue by the thoughtless application of some readily available label. Labels are useful but must be carefully constructed and applied, kind of like nitroglycerin, it is probably best to avoid handling certain things which, in the hands of the wrong person, can do harm.
    • Jun 24 2013: First of all, I don't think a one-party nation is being suggested. The proposition is to ban parties altogether.

      If 47% want one thing and 47% want another, and if it really is as simple as that (of course it isn't), then the dissolution of parties shouldn't matter, should it? People would vote the same way, wouldn't they? The reality is that labels do have an effect on how people vote and more importantly on the way members of Congress vote. Members of Congress are swayed by four things: parties, funders, polls, and themselves. I think we can all agree that members of Congress should use their own intelligence to represent the People and that voters should use their own intelligence to evaluate candidates based on ideas and merit.

      On the other hand, it can be argued that parties do serve a useful function. They can get bills passed. Granted, that's not always a good thing with either party, especially if you're fed up with earmarks like I am. But if you are firmly on the side of one party over the other, you might want to keep it alive so it can organize coalitions.

      I'm therefore inclined to think of this is as a debate between partisans and independents--between people who judge quickly based on party or ideology and people who judge slowly based on careful logic. Alternatively, maybe the debate I've described is between idealists and pragmatists. Either way, partisans can be reckless and independents indecisive, and idealists can be simplistic and pragmatists complacent. We all have something to learn from each other here, and I don't think this question has an obvious answer. We could have an interesting discussion.
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        Jun 24 2013: Not only could we have an interesting discussion, I thought we were having one. If you were to come down off the fence which side would you be on? In the USA we have 100 Senators and 435 Representatives. Those 535 votes pretty much determine the course of our nation. Most issues they debate can be viewed from more than one perspective. The big three of those possible perspectives are Liberal/Democrat, Conservative/Republican, and Independent. How could those 535 voters be known if not by party affiliation? Whether we label the various perspectives or not they will exist. Call them "YEA" and "NAY", or "A" and "B", or whatever you like. Even though each of the 535 "use their own intelligence to represent the People" as you say, the most popular two or three positions will cluster into groups. Avoiding naming those groups makes it needlessly more difficult to discuss them. For that reason alone America must have a multi-party system!
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          Jun 28 2013: "For that reason alone America must have a multi-party system!" 1) I disagree. 2) Must!? No. There is ALWAYS a choice.

          "Avoiding naming those groups makes it needlessly more difficult to discuss them." I actually think the opposite. It makes it more complicated by letting their "differences" get in the way before anyone has a chance to rationally discuss the issues at stake.
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          Jun 28 2013: A conservative can be conservative without being a Republican, and a liberal can be a liberal without the need for being a Democrat. Besides, the majority of Americans are not 100% conservative or liberal on every issue.
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        Jun 28 2013: "The proposition is to ban parties altogether." Kunal Puri is right.
    • Jun 29 2013: You missed the idea Ed......no political parties.....period. Not one national party, just a few American people doing the work that needs to be done to administer the nation.
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        Jun 29 2013: The fact is that efficient, intelligent communication requires names; titles;labels; descriptions; categories; classification; taxonomy; etc. Imagine the difficulty of communicating about political and civic matters if you were only allowed to use the term "Participants", with no further descriptive information about your subject persons or groups. Not a good idea! By the way, the name of that single political "PARTY" would be, "Participants", with everyone else being formed into a second party and labeled, by default, "Non-participants". We need the minimum concept of "A" and "Not A" to communicate. Imagine the shoe industry if only the word "shoes" could be used to refer to the myriad variations of the product!

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