While there are a lot of things currently wrong with the American political system, there are several that jump out at me which appear to be holding us back from bettering this country:
- The Two-Party System – Besides limiting the choices of the American public, the two-party system is extremely polarizing. This means that any stance on issues not 110% in line with party platforms gets chastized or scrutinized until it's dropped or dismissed. It's also created an “Us vs. Them” mentality amongst the public that is probably stronger now than at any time since the Civil War. Sometimes we need to be reminded that we're all in this together, and there are some cases where neither party's platform is the right decision to take the country, state, city or school district in.
- The Popularity Contest – Most candidates will pander to whatever immediate need is at the forefront of their constituents' minds (or their own, in some cases). Many politicians appear to have forgotten that our government is not a Democracy, but a Republic, where they are elected to make decisions in the best interest of those who have elected them. This effect then becomes more obvious as levels of government become more local.
- Special Interest Influence – Too many of today's laws, acts and motions are strong influenced by special interest groups, who make a lot of noise but don't represent the constituency. This causes a lot of the general needs of the population to be ignored in favor of these few (see the effects “No Child Left Behind” and our public school systems to see just a few examples of this).
- Zero Accountability – In today's political arena, most politicians have zero accountability. Either their constituents aren't paying attention to what they are doing, or there is almost never enough backlash against their actions to force a recall or any other disciplinary action. Even the threat of not being re-elected isn't enough to dissuade most politicians from making bad decisions.