Monday, August 17, 2015

A Lack of Discussion: How the Planned Parenthood Controversy Perfectly Captures the Biggest Problem in American Politics

With the upcoming Presidential Election, Planned Parenthood has been talked about a lot recently. Many have attacked the organization for providing abortion services and its other questionable practices, while others have risen to its defense, pointing out all the necessary services Planned Parenthood provides. This will likely continue to be a major issue as we approach the election, and despite this, I have seen very little actual discussion about the issue.

Sure, there have been many speeches, posts, and articles about the topic, but I haven't seen anything that relates to a discussion of the issue. Most of what I have seen either calls for Planned Parenthood to be completely defunded and shut down, or says that Planned Parenthood should remain exactly as it is. This constant back and forth is getting us nowhere on the issue, as it is clear that neither side is going to give in to the other, yet our politicians, political writers, and other everyday people continue to add fuel to the fire rather than focusing their energy on finding a solution. This isn't even a very complicated issue which requires time to figure out and put together a solution. It seems pretty clear to me that we can keep Planned Parenthood around while still eliminating its practice of abortion. After all, abortion accounts for only a small part of Planned Parenthood's services, and it isn't very strongly connected to the other, less controversial services it provides.

So why hasn't such a clear and obvious compromise been proposed by any major political figure? It seems like it would have ready made support in the more moderate parts of both parties and would be an agreeable compromise for both sides, but especially for the Democrats. Should a Republican candidate win the upcoming election, there would be nothing to stop the fully Republican government from bringing down Planned Parenthood, so working out a compromise now could save Planned Parenthood from being completely dismantled in a few years.

There is a lack of discussion that is prevalent in our politics. Nobody wants to voice an opinion that might be contrary to their party, so nobody says anything independent of their party at all. This problem isn't just isolated to controversial issues, it is just as prevalent, or maybe even more so, within parties. Take Obamacare, for example. It was a 2,700 page document that was passed each house of congress and signed into law in a matter of months. That's barely enough time to read and understand such a document, let alone discuss and debate its merits, pitfalls, and problems. As a result, Obamacare has encountered several hiccups along the way, hiccups that could have been avoided had there been any actual discussion and debate while the bill was in congress.

This problem is also very apparent when the congress and the president are in a deadlock along party lines. During these times, very little gets done, we even had a government shut down because nobody could agree on a budget. When the congress and the president are controlled by one party, things get done, yet the bills that are passed during those times go through less debate and are also fairly one sided so they are poorly constructed and poorly implemented.

If this continues, we will be trapped in a loop of one party passing one sided laws, deadlock, another party tearing down what the other did and passing its own one sided laws, deadlock, and so forth. We need more discussion in our politics. We need to encourage compromise so that our country can progress. If we continue as we are, our country will only continue to divide itself until it breaks.

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