Lori Falce: The politics of parties
Everyone loves a party, right?
Sure, a party can be a lot of fun, if you are meeting new people, eating good food, listening to great music.
A party can also be really stressful. It can feel like an obligation. It can make you tense and uncomfortable and leave you just dying to get out.
Maybe this is why we call political groups parties.
They seem like a good idea. Like-minded people working toward a common goal in a governmental system that doesn’t just allow for dissension and compromise but encourages it. We should all RSVP for that.
But wait a second. Before we break out a pinata, let’s look a little closer.
Political parties — the very entities George Washington warned against as he was leaving office — also have a tendency to collect power and create enemies. They foster an us-versus-them mentality. They confuse “us” the party with “us” the country.
And this is not something where one side is guilty and the other is immune. They all fall prey to it at some point.
The greatest danger is when party becomes not just confused with country, but supplants it — when loyalty to party is the only patriotism that matters.
We have seen that too often in our enemies. In Nazi Germany, fascist Italy and Communist U.S.S.R., party was synonymous with power. Those are footsteps no one should follow.
The purpose of a party is supposed to be the advancement of an idea for the good of the people. It should never be to advance the interests of the party itself. Every day it is easy to see people on both sides of our political aisles who have forgotten that we do not live in the (Insert Party Name) States of America.
But it’s not hopeless. The answer to fixing a bad political party is much the same as fixing any other kind of party. No, not spiking the punch. It’s giving everyone a chance to be heard, making sure the cliques play fair and encouraging those around the edges to come into the middle to mingle.
Whether it’s a birthday, a tailgate or politics, a good party brings people together. A bad party drives them away.
Lori Falce is a Tribune-Review community engagement editor. You can contact Lori at [email protected].