Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

‘Redefine Freedom’ in November Elections

We live in a world of choices. When we buy sneakers, we have a laundry list of brands to choose from. When we want an ice cream cone, we don’t have to choose between chocolate and vanilla – there are myriad options. And yet if we wish to vote for an elected official, we often only have two choices: Democrat or Republican.

Even within the two traditional parties, choices are limited. Extreme factions and ideologies dominate the political landscape. Ultraconservatives and extremist liberals continue to exert more and more control on political parties. It is easy to be swept away into a stream of divisive issues: gay marriage, flag burning, abortion and so on. We often forget that it is more important to be united as Americans than divided.

In an ideal version of our government, neither party would be dominant, and thus neither party would dominate the flow of ideas. In addition, we must remember that in a democratic society, government cannot satisfy all people on all issues all of the time. In a free society, government should always be a matter of compromise and accommodation. It is vital that we have intelligent citizens who disagree with each other. It is by civilized debate between passionate people that democracy changes for the better. Unfortunately, politics in America has deteriorated into partisan bickering. Gone are the days of respectful discussion on the Senate floor. In its place, a continuous power struggle has taken root. Bipartisanism is especially weak in election years, as moderates are often forced to appeal to the most extreme constituents in their party.

It is long past time to make progress on the critical issues facing our college, our individual states and our nation. Hence, former leaders of both parties and students from universities across the U.S. have formed Unity08, a new political group which seeks to deal with the problem of partisanship.

Unity08 is a grassroots political movement comprised of citizens who believe that the political status quo is failing us as a nation. We believe that neither of the two major parties in America reflects the will of the people. Both parties have come under the heavy influence of corrupt lobbyists and special interest groups, and decisions are now being dominated by these influences rather then the wishes of constituents.

It is easy to look at the political spectrum and find things we dislike on both sides of the aisle. The members of Unity08 got involved with changing the system because we believe that we have a unique opportunity to shape the debate in the United States. It is time for us to seize the day and return America to its roots as a government by the people and for the people, and not a greed-driven machine at the beck and call of special interests.

We cannot afford to waste time assessing blame. Both those of us involved in the political process, as well as the politically apathetic, are all equally responsible for the state of this union. Unity08 hopes to return the focus of politics to improving the common good.

Our generation has the same opportunity to redefine freedom in our time as generations before us had during their formative years. We must always remember how blessed we are to live in a country where we are allowed to speak freely, critique and change our political system. It is an incredible privilege, and one that should not be taken for granted. Unity08 is committed to another rebirth of freedom in America. As Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small dedicated group of individuals can change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Marc Peters is a junior at Syracuse University.

Correction: The Article, “`Redefine Freedom’ in November Elections” (THE HOYA, October 20, 2006, A3) incorrectly identified Gaby Baca as the author of this viewpoint.

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