Welcome to the era of political polarization

Published 9:05 am Thursday, March 25, 2010

After watching the U.S. Congress vote on the health care reform bill Sunday I couldn’t help but feel alienated.

No, this not a column about being for or against health care reform so don’t fill my email inbox and voicemail with nasty messages.

That alienation feeling came from seeing our representatives in action. Watching the vote was similar to that of a showdown between the Socs and the Greasers in S.E. Hinton’s “The Outsiders.” I was expecting guys with names like Ponyboy, Darry and Sodapop to show up and start something on the congressional floor.

But of course this wasn’t 1965 in Tulsa, Okla.

Instead it was current day and this was strictly between the Republicans and Democrats. I could draw dozens of literary contrasts to describe the relationship between the two political parties, but I think it is clear that relationship is at its worse in years.

From all the hooting and hollering from the Democrats to all the nays and groaning from the Republicans, I couldn’t help but want to shout, “Grow up and vote already.”

I am not affiliated with either party (nor any other) and when it comes down to it I consider myself a moderate, sometimes I’m with the Democrats on an issue and other times I agree with the Republican view.

I walk that border between liberals and conservatives and often times that is a lonely path as the political environment in our country becomes more and more polarized. You’re either a Democrat, a Republican or you’re one of those people…the ones seemingly stuck in the gray area or are affiliated with a party that might as well be non-existent.

As a moderate, I’d like to see both parties work with each other on issues this country is facing, but gauging from the selfish and rude behavior displayed on Sunday that idea is so cold it’s probably buried under the Bering Sea somewhere.

Nowadays it seems the general goal in Washington is to be “top dog” or finding a creative way to leverage your vote for as much pork barrel money as you can get.

And just as a side note, I love seeing how the “vote” was decided before the vote actually happened as Speaker Nancy Pelosi eluded to days before. It seems she may have a psychic ability there. She very well could go into business with Miss Cleo.

It is the American public’s responsibility to keep our representatives’ egos in check.

It’s high time for the two parties to work together for all voters and all people and it’s time for the doors to come off those secret Washington backroom meetings.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: amanda.vanderbroek@r-cnews.com or call (252) 332-7209.