When I was a child I recall how I became frustrated at having to color within the lines.
I was no more messy or tidy than other children, but I didn’t like feeling constrained by the lines of the cat or horse or whatever I might be coloring.
As I was watching the Democratic and Republican debates these past few weeks, I began to get that same feeling.
The Democrats all supported the same positions with only semantic differences. Some supported raising taxes in this way or that way. Some supported an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq while others favored a more gradual removal.
The Republicans were much the same, all supporting issues such as the repeal of Roe v.Wade or a constitutional ban on same sex marriage.
Both the Republicans and Democrats seemed to be trying very hard to stay within the lines.
The politics of the past worked in the past. Leaders who devoutly follow a party platform, usually built by the most extreme elements of a political party, are not what the voters in the 21st century want to see.
The voters of today and the citizens of today are more sophisticated than in the past. We experience world events through the Internet, over our I-phones and through any number of 24-hour cable news channels.
Our conceptions of ourselves and our country are not myopic through a narrow local lens but wider and better focused by the myriad national and international sources of information we have available.
More than ever mainstream voters don’t want to stay within the lines and don’t want the politicians representing them to either.
Republicans have made it a basic tenet of their party to repeal Roe v. Wade and to ban same sex marriage, but do the positions they support on these issues reflect the pressing concerns of most Americans?
Democrats have rushed to condemn the war in Iraq, and indeed the war is unpopular, but does their position of immediate disengagement reflect what the majority of Americans want?
There are extreme members of each political party that do feel these issues are of utmost importance. In most cases, they are driving the focus within their party, but they do not reflect what most voters think.
Americans more and more are willing to choose some issues from one party and some issues from another. The clear lines of political divisions for voters are starting to blur.
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Why can’t a Democrat express support for the war or Republican support reproductive rights for women?
The popularity of candidate Rudy Giuliani, who is a Republican yet does support gay rights and reproductive rights for women, is a testament to the desire by voters for these sorts of candidates.
He is the prototype for new political candidates who are willing, like Democrat Joe Biden, to break with the strictures of their party platform and be true leaders.
If Republicans and Democrats continue to follow the same dogmatic approach to their policies, they will continue to turn off and discourage voters.
We need men and women who are not afflicted by the myopic vision of either party’s platforms and are willing to be leaders and not simply politicians.
Daniel Sims is a senior majoring in psychology.
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