Change or Spin Our Wheels

It has been difficult to gather my thoughts this past few months.  The virus and the bombardment of negative propaganda from both political parties have drained my energy.  The state and federal political races have become even more toxic than in the past, and more expensive as well (I wonder what the unemployed and marginalized think about the millions spent on politics).  The nation’s interests have been sidelined by political interests, there is no long-term vision anymore, no clear direction or shared objectives.  Short-term gains predominate over long-term nation building objectives that used to bring the two parties together.  Bipartisan cooperation, the glue that kept this nation thriving, is gone.  Today, our political leaders act and sound more like the leaders of developing nations trying to find their North Star.  They do not sound like the leaders of the super power of the world.  Is this a sign that we have come to the end of our journey.  Perhaps this is the end of the stable political environment that provided the necessary conditions to run and operate the free market machine that took us from the exploitative conditions of a British colony to the capitalist miracle of the Twentieth Century. 

Our modern nation building model historically relied on two centralist political parties that agreed on two basic but crucial things, our unique and limited vision of democracy (two party system) and the unquestionable commitment to a capitalist free market economic development model.  While the rest of the nations of the world struggled to find harmony among their more pluralist versions of democracy or through the imposition of totalitarian and theocratic rule, we plowed through with our bipartisan model that impeded our economy from spinning its wheels.  This political stability allowed us to quickly mature into a powerful nation in less than two hundred and fifty years, something unimaginable and sometimes even unacceptable for those nations that have aspired for power for centuries.

Unfortunately, the internal political cohesiveness is gone and now we are spinning our wheels. The bipartisan willingness, in the early 1990s, to sacrifice our national economy in exchange for a global economy represented the start of the countdown for an implosion that could perhaps be unfolding today.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the Pacific, China presses the accelerator even more, taking advantage of our slow but steady implosion in order to build its own cohesive capitalist machine, guaranteeing long-term political stability under the thumb of the Chinese Communist Party. 

It is disappointing, as an American, to see our stability and competitiveness dismantled by the greed of a political class willing to sell the nation’s future for the sake of personal power.  Republicans backing a despot like Donald Trump and Democrats following the order of the party’s established political elite.  In our world of limited democratic options, we are left with two political options that romanticize with visions of the past, leaving Millennials and the Generation Z without any true representation. Even more concerning is the fact that our social blinders, magnified by our privately-owned media, impede us from collectively seeing that without political stability there is no long-term economic prosperity. 

While rising powers, like China, capitalize on the internal cohesiveness necessary to overcome the challenges of the current pandemic and rebuild their national economy, and other western industrialized nations restructure their own internal production systems in order to develop a sustainable economy for the Twenty First Century, our leaders have chosen to spin their wheels.  Instead of building on what the other party advanced, like we used to, both parties have made it their job to destroy the achievements of the other.  That is not sustainable, it is not the way our political parties operated in the past.  Sadly, it is the way developing nations operate and the reason why they have historically struggled to achieve long-term sustainable economic growth.

The end of the bipartisan system could be the only way to save our nation from the current dysfunctional dynamics.  The rise of a third party could be our salvation.  A third option that could bring back national cohesion and long-term harmony, flushing out those peripheral groups and forcing them back to their original extremes.  This would incentivize the traditional parties to reevaluate their current “dangerous” strategies and return to their centrist positions.  A third party that could represent the voices of younger generations interested in building a sustainable future, a platform for a Twenty First Century United States and not just a ticket back to the past. 

There is no path to bipartisan cohesion and harmony, unless the political class is willing to sacrifice its own self-interest for the sake of the nation.  The forced inclusion of extreme agendas for the sake of winning votes has only turned our bipartisan system into a toxic and unmanageable organizational culture.  Old and new blood on both sides of the aisle have drank from the same poisonous well, and there is no return back.  An alternative third party is needed if we want to move forward.  Change is needed if we want to collectively rebuild our society, economy, institutions, and natural environment after the pandemic.

Imagine a third party that splits the vote of the traditional parties and holds them accountable for their inactions and abuse of power.  One that focuses on its citizens and not on the political or economic elite.  One that focuses on the small business sector and is committed to building nation from the bottom up.  A party that belongs to the people and not to the highest local or global corporate bidder.  A new path to provide ALL American’s access to the global economic growth of the post-pandemic world and not just the present limited choices that look for answers in the past in order to solve the problems of the future.

Based on the current bipartisan political theatrics, it is evident that neither party or its leadership sincerely care about our future. Let’s be honest, they only care about the next political election; they only care about power.  To the point that they are willing to herd us into the Colosseum so that we can settle the differences for them once again, as we did in the 1860s.  We must scape that potential reality, we must stop spinning our wheels.  We need a third option, we need change.  A new political alternative where many of us will finally feel represented and not forced to choose over the two limited options.


Stefano Tijerina

About Stefano Tijerina

My name is Stefano Tijerina and this blog’s objective is to connect Maine’s social, environmental, economic, cultural, and political issues to the global system, centering on how the local impacts the global and how the global impacts the local or what is known in Global Studies as the "Glocal" effect. In our present era of globalization it is crucial for the general public to understand how the new dynamics of the international system impact our lives here in Maine and how our local decisions impact the earth. These are my personal views, and they do not express those of the University of Maine System or the University of Maine.