Politics has been subjugated to the partisan hackery and gamesmanship that is associated with team sports. People have cemented themselves on one side of the political spectrum. Whether on Twitter, television, the Internet, in newspapers or even face to face; honest political debate over issues has been taken over by a battle between teams based on ideology. Scoring points and winning are now pursued regardless of context, logic, facts or culpability. However, it must be asked why politics has devolved into a contest between two opposing views. Furthermore, why would anyone wish to curtail reasonable debate over issues by marrying to one side?
It was not an extraordinary leap from the political branding that occurred in the last century to the creation of political teams in this one. Politics has become like any team sport, the primary aim of its players is to win. People pick one side (team) and blindly follow and defend it. Political ideology and teams have become identities within themselves, with most politically minded people identifying themselves foremost as “conservatives” or “liberals”. A support structure including media and lobbyists have sprung up to support each side in their moral crusade. Political leaders are picked based upon whether they can deliver their side a win, not whether they can sufficiently govern (e.g. Tony Abbot). All the while our governments are becoming increasingly intransigent, and independents and the apolitical are becoming increasingly disillusioned.
However, the “left” and the “right” are not the only valid points of view. The world is mired in endless shades of grey. It is folly to believe that either side of the political spectrum can be right on every single issue, that either side can cater to everyone’s best interest, or that one side are genuine and the other opportunists. Why pick a side? Pigeonholing oneself with one side necessitates the occasional defence of the indefensible and challenging of the correct. It impinges ideological and team interests on what should be pure debate over issues. It narrows accomplishments of agenda and allows politicians to overlook you as your support is given. It reverts humanity back to a time when tribal conflicts reigned supreme. It is not a way to run a democracy.