In Between the Lines: The Poisoning of Politics

The two-party system has kept us trapped in the same cycle of ‘politics as usual.’

Katie Catterall is a sophomore journalism major and writes “In Between the Lines" for The Daily News. Her views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper. 

It is nothing new to say that this is the most important election in history. We have seen record-breaking results from mail-in ballots this year due to

the pandemic, and we have citizens who call other countries home sitting on the edge of their seats in anticipation for the results of the election.

With tensions high this week, it is more important than ever to evaluate our country as a whole because citizens of a successful democracy should not have to feel like they are voting for the lesser of two evils to rule their home. 

The two-party system has failed us for far too long. I am afraid for the future of this country and the world, and the time for change is now.

How long are we going to accept expensive and ineffective health insurance or continue to act like climate change isn’t altering the state of our planet? How long are we going to allow systemic racism to affect nearly every facet of our lives? How long are we going to allow students to incur debt that will weigh them down throughout their lives simply because they wanted to better themselves through education?

We’ve been told change has been in the works for years by our politicians. Every election cycle, we are delivered empty promises of major change to come for this country with zero results. We elect these people with the expectation that they will work for us, which means all of us and not just the select few at the top of the economic hierarchy.

The Affordable Care Act was a band-aid on a gaping wound that is the healthcare crisis in this country. A 2019 report from the Census Bureau reported that 29.6 million Americans are still uninsured under the ACA due to expensive healthcare costs. Politicians within the two-party system have told us for years that a single-payer healthcare system just wouldn’t work in America. Yet, nearly every other industrialized nation does it with no problem. My generation — and future generations — should not have to be afraid of getting sick for fear of going into debt over healthcare costs. Support for a single-payer healthcare system is now up to 63 percent in the United States. Over half of Americans want this, but our two-party system isn’t delivering.

Our planet is dying due to the climate crisis looming over our heads, and we still have politicians who blatantly deny it’s happening. According to a PEW Research poll, two-thirds of Americans say the federal government isn’t doing nearly enough to combat the climate crisis. That same PEW poll found that 63 percent of Americans think stricter environmental regulations are needed regardless of the cost. If Americans are recognizing that our politicians aren’t making enough change, then why is nothing being done to create other options? 

Our two-party system, once again, isn’t delivering these changes. My generation will have to deal with not only the environmental fallout, but also the economic fallout from the climate crisis. Abolishing the two-party system could help sideline corrupt politicians who are beholden to big energy interests that are destroying this planet, such as the coal and fracking industries.   

Our Black peers are being killed by corrupt police officers at a higher rate than non-Blacks in this country. We can’t afford to sit by and play with people’s lives. A 2020 Gallup poll reported that 58 percent of Americans want to see major changes in policing. Reforms from ending “stop and frisk” to ending qualified immunity to abolishing police departments in general are just a few of the changes proposed. Future generations do not want to live in a country where people have to fear those who should be protecting them. I am not proud to be part of a country that allows innocent Black people to be murdered at the hands of bad cops. The two-party system has the power to potentially end this, but it hasn’t. 

Millions of students look to college as a time to find who they are and what their passion is, but they are incurring mountains of debt to do it. I am already in debt just trying to afford my education, and I’m only a sophomore. I have two more years to incur even more debt along with the interest that comes along with student loans. I will then spend years paying back this debt simply because I was trying to better myself through education.

If other countries can offer a debt-free education, why can’t America? The answer is simple. 

The two-party system is ineffective in making needed changes. According to a 2019 Hill-Harris poll, 58 percent of registered voters are in favor of tuition-free public colleges, universities and trade-schools. More than half of registered voters support this, but we are told over and over again by our politicians that it can’t be done. 

We need a new voice in government — one that will actually work for the people. We need a voice that uplifts everyone and not just the corporations and billionaires. 

We need the abolishment of the two-party system.

Contact Katie Catterall with comments at khcatterall@bsu.edu. 

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