ROSE NOLEN: Political parties do little to solve country's problems

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

I’m glad I got to know America before the political parties began to try to make a mockery of our system of government. The country’s founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, signaled the beginning of a truly noble experiment. The difficulty has been in staying the course.

As a young person I examined the documents and after studying them I came out with a fair understanding of what the forefathers had in mind regarding the kind of country they were hoping to create. They were meticulous in their use of language, making it highly unlikely their meaning would be misunderstood.

Throughout our history, it has been a struggle to maintain separation of church and state. There are those who are determined to have the country governed by Christian beliefs. The fact that this is unconstitutional is unacceptable to many. This is an issue that must be fought over and over again.

Civil rights is another issue that must be tackled in every generation. There are those who believe they should enjoy privileges and opportunities that others are not entitled to. They often are willing to go to elaborate lengths to maintain this division. Sometimes, the targets of their discrimination are minorities and sometimes they are women.

Frankly, I don’t think the political parties are doing very much in terms of helping the country solve many of its problems. On the contrary, they spend much of their time in fighting, striving for their particular political party to get the upper hand.

Certainly, rather than creating more unity within the population, the parties create further division. A lot of politicians are so dogmatic in their positions that compromise is out of the question. Issues that could be settled in an afternoon are often left to stagnate while the country waits for weeks or months for a decision.

Service to the country was once an honorable undertaking. It provided an opportunity to do one’s part and to use one’s skills and talents to try to help the government work better for its citizens. It was also a way of setting an example for children in demonstrating good citizenship.

The right to vote is a privilege. It’s a way of registering your opinion. Unfortunately, many people have lost faith in the people they have chosen to take care of the country’s business. They have become disenchanted with the political parties, yet they know if they don’t vote for candidates representing one of the parties, their vote will count for nothing.

People who are dissatisfied with the political parties really need to get active in helping to build new organizations. Sacrificing the right to vote is not a solution to the problem. The people deserve good leaders.

It’s the least we can do to keep the country moving forward.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or emailing her at

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Michael Williams March 27, 2012 | 10:00 a.m.

Rose: I lived through Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and Obama.

I don't think I'm much older/younger than you, but I could be wrong and perhaps you can add/subtract 1 or 2 presidents.

But I can't ever remember any lack of some pretty uncivil controversy between the parties and their policies, especially during elections.

I lived during the Cuban missile crisis, the civil rights legislation of '64, Rowe v. Wade, George Wallace, the Democratic National convention, the racial riots, the Vietnam war, the Iranian crisis, Iraq I, the stained blue dress, 911, Iraq II, Afghanistan, and civil/national problems too numerous to mention. During all those years, I've seen the extraordinary tension between religion/non-religion, Christian/non-christian, black/white, male/female, criminals/law-abiders, immigration/non-immigration, students/non-students, how well schools are doing/not-doing, tax policies, educated/non-educated, gay/straight, rich/poor, etc.

Ofttimes, the vitriol has been profound. And the topics haven't changed much, either; they remain the same, waiting only for a new generation of 20 year olds. Only one significant thing has changed: The WAY in which we disseminate information.

Vitriol and controversy USED to be filtered through only a few sane and rational radio stations and 3 TV networks with journalists that hid their personal views rather well.

Now, we have the anonymous internet...instant communication....and instant dissemination of any damnphool vitriol a person can think up. Social communication rather than educational discourse is the rule, not the exception.

Electronic and instant communication is a good thing....until it isn't. It only takes one charismatic and loud person to start some rather serious problems among like-minded folks who are already upset about something. We don't have to think much anymore....all we have to do is react.

It's hard to not fall into the traps. I'm guilty, too, although I don't think I've ever started a riot although it got close when I lied about a new braille section for sightless men at a local gentleman's club.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 27, 2012 | 10:06 a.m.

Oh, one more thing.

I can only think of two politicians I have ever trusted to do a good job: Chris Kelly (D) and Kenny Hulshof (R).

A statement which may start a forum riot all on its own.

So, all-in-all, I'm pretty-much agreeing with you that political parties aren't helping.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro March 27, 2012 | 1:38 p.m.

Perhaps if being elected for government offices were viewed in the same manner that we view volunteers for our armed forces, then politicians would be more public service oriented then ambitious, well-compensated lifetime office holders/power brokers/law changers, beholding to the party which backed them for office and all the materialistic rewards which come with their positions.
As it stands now, political parties have no obligation to non-party constituents, except for some legal obligations which they often do not uphold.
("The Role of Third Parties:

In America, third parties have traditionally held the role of protest vehicles. Third parties arise when a group of people believe that the major two parties have become unresponsive to their needs. Many independent candidacies and third parties fulfill the important role of bringing an issue to the public eye that has been neglected by the major players.")

(Report Comment)

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