Being a college student as well as a concerned citizen, I regularly find myself asking the same question: What is wrong with Washington? After questioning many of my colleagues and observing the political process, I have come up with my own conclusion. Brace yourself: The problem is not those in Washington, the problem is us. We the people. The American electorate has turned away from principles and towards partisan politics.
We look back to 2001 and the Patriot Act and we remember the outcry from the left calling President Bush a tyrant for violating our right to privacy and allowing the government to monitor and trace nearly every aspect of modern communication. Only a few affiliates of the Republican Party were outspoken dissenters of this legislation.
The troubling aspect of this episode is its reoccurrence and the reversal of roles. In past weeks we uncovered the NSA’s PRISM system, which is used to gain access to the private communication of users from nine popular Internet services, including Google, YouTube, Yahoo and Facebook. Now we hear from those on the right arguing over practically the same case, yet this time they have become the outspoken critics while those on the left quietly sit back.
Supporters of both the Republican Party and Democratic Party have dismounted their own individual convictions and fallen victim to party politics. Democrats and Republicans are easily influenced to support partisan policy if it is labeled as a liberal policy or conservative policy. There appears to be an absence of conscious individual deliberation. Maybe it is simply a lack of concern for public affairs.
Where are those who examine, question and analyze? We have allowed the inexcusably poor efforts by legislators across the country become the norm. I believe it fair to classify the American electorate as apathetic and unprincipled.