Ideological polarization in the nation is at an all-time high. So much so, it is palpable. Anticipating the human nature that we are currently seeing, the prescience of the founding fathers resulted in their brilliant crafting of the Constitution. Preventing the ideological polarization is the implementation of the checks and balances among the three branches of government.
However, another beauty of the Constitution is that the checks and balances also resides within us, the citizens. If the citizens truly understood this Constitutional concept of checks and balances, they would not want a polarized country. It is the swinging pendulum analogy: as the pendulum swings farther in one direction, it will swing farther and faster in the other direction. There are two implications of this effect: 1) when one end of the ideological spectrum pushes the bounds of constitutional limits, as the Obama Administration has done, the other end of the ideological spectrum is free to push those same constitutional limits in the opposite direction because of precedence – the farther the swing; and 2) the farther the constitutional limits are pushed, the harder opposing citizens will push back in the opposite direction – the faster the swing.
What this means is while you may enjoy the swing in your ideological direction, you will have to endure the far swing in the opposite direction, when that time comes. Also, the greater the ideological volatility, measured by the national polarization, the greater the gridlock because the political pushback. The result is we are seeing a highly polarized political climate where the left is pushing more and more radical policies while the right has to reach farther right to counter those policies. Caught in the middle is legislation to help the American people, which is being brushed aside to advance the ideological fringe.
The true beauty of the Constitution is that “we the people” are the arbiters of the final check and balance. If we truly understand this Constitutional concept, we would not want a polarized country. We would not want polarizing policies advanced for ideological reasons at the detriment of the Constitution and benefit of the fringe, which does not benefit the nation as a whole. We would understand that policies that diminish the Constitution further hasten the demise of the limits by which the Constitution constrains the government and enhances our liberties. We are seeing that nothing gets done to truly benefit the American people.
A prime example is immigration reform. One side lauds the suspension of enforcing laws supposedly designed to reign in illegal immigration. The other side is furious and would propose additional, equally radical, policy to do what existing law should already do, when enforced. Ideally, a centrist governing body would realize the folly of policy at either extreme and instead would provide solutions that favored maximizing the benefit to the whole nation, not just their political lobby.
This past Administration has shown us the result of voting the ideological fringe into the majority. Continuing down this road we will see further gridlock and stagnation of the American economy and standing on the world stage. We have the opportunity to vote away from the fringes and back into the center. The founders understood that the ideological center benefits the majority of the citizens. And, when the majority is thriving, the exceptionalism of this country will be realized. “We the people” then have the responsibility to be engaged and be that arbiter of the final check and balance to vote in those politicians that won’t just work for fringe groups.
To work, this cannot be an acquiescence of the right to the will of the progressive left. Those on the left must also consent or we will continue to see the hard right push to counter the current progressive ideology. At some point the majority will still rule.
That’s where I stand. If I haven’t offended you, then I haven’t tried hard enough.