By Steven Bonini
As a political science major these last four years, I have had the opportunity to study politics during what has been one of the United States’ most heated political junctures.
From the rise of Trumpism in the Republican Party to the growing “woke” culture on the left, the one deficit of American politics that is clear to me is the country’s inability to do away with extremism.
On the right side of the aisle, Republicans are following in the footsteps of President Donald Trump, and their agenda moves further and further away from the middle ground every day.
The same can be said about the Democratic Party, which at one point in time, had a fairly centrist base, but has since become the battleground of moderates and progressives - unable to meet in the middle on key issues facing Americans.
More importantly though, the political extremism created by the two parties is threatening to the true democratic process.
If there’s one key takeaway I’ve learned while studying political science, it’s that politics is supposed to be about creating policy for the benefit of the everyday working individual, but when I listen to our elected leaders, it feels as if they couldn’t care less about the American populace. They sound more like car salesmen - in this case, trying to sell people their politics.
I can’t afford the sticker price, and neither can the American people.
Much of this political discourse, I believe, comes from the fact that America lacks strong leadership across the board, but most notably at the presidential level.
President Joe Biden is far from a strong leader, and some days, I wonder if he’s fully coherent.
We’ve all seen his gaffes on stage and that’s with the use of a teleprompter.
I don’t even want to imagine what he sounds like in meetings with major foreign leaders.
As President Ronald Reagan once said, “We know only too well that war comes not when the forces of freedom are strong, but when they are weak. It is then that tyrants are tempted.”
Under Biden’s leadership, America looks weak.
I’m convinced he’s being used as a puppet for the progressive left.
Let us not forget that when he ran to be the Democratic nominee for president, it was as a centrist, and then he selected California Senator Kamala Harris to be his running mate.
According to GovTrack, for the 116th Congress, which began January 3, 2019, and ended on January 3, 2021, Harris was ranked the second-most liberal senator in the senate - a real punch in the face to those of us who thought he’d serve as a moderate.
With her in his ear, I worry about what his policy agenda will look like over the next two-and-a-half years.
Former President Trump was certainly no saint of a leader, either.
I don’t miss his game show State of the Unions, unpresidential tweets, or his praise of foreign dictators like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un.
America looked no stronger under his stewardship.
Not to mention his lies about the election have convinced many voters that it was actually stolen from him - creating a fear among people that American elections are truly undemocratic.
Any leader who lies and fear-mongers to their base for their own benefit isn’t a leader at all - they’re a tyrant.
Voting accessibility is a hot button issue at the forefront of American politics right now, and Trump spewing false narratives is only adding fuel to the fire.
Americans should be able to have faith in their elections when they go to the ballot box, and it shouldn’t be about voting for who’s less extreme on the issues.
Whether the citizens of the United States like it or not, these are the two leaders of the major political parties, and the 2024 presidential election is likely to look similar to 2020’s.
This is not what the American people need at the moment.
What the United States needs is somebody like President John F. Kennedy. In other words, a leader who can bring a sense of rationality to the table - somebody who’s patriotic, balanced, and always looking ahead - trying to create a better tomorrow for the children of our nation.
Oh, and did I mention Kennedy was fairly young? Somebody young in office would be a great step in the right direction!
Until we have leaders, in all areas of government, who are willing to work across party lines, accept responsibility for their actions, and look at Americans as people instead of votes, we won’t have a government that acts in the benefit of the nation’s populace.