Most negatively themed political news is aimed at politicians and political organizations, usually deservedly. But we often overlook that these people wouldn't be in office unless millions of people got up and voted them into office, and those organizations wouldn't have any power if we didn't support them.
Far and beyond even unfair political rules that the two major parties have put in place, the fact that people who do want a more effective government don't get out and work, donate and volunteer for political efforts at a rate remotely close to what they should helps to force division on the Left and Right. Lower their standards enough to vote for lesser evils... this is the biggest root problem of them all.
Bill Clinton touched on this a bit, in an interview on over at ABC News: "We live in a time where there's this huge disconnect between the way the political system works and the way the economic system works," President Clinton told "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour. "If you want to put people to work, we've got to focus on what works, and what works is not all this back and forth fighting in Washington."
"Conflict has proved to be remarkably good politics," Clinton added. "It's very hard for the people in Washington, who got there based on pure conflict, pure attack, pure ideology, to take it seriously when their same constituents are saying please do something positive. That's not how they got elected."
Regular people not being as active as those who dominate the two major parties is one of those chicken and the egg problems. Grassroots organizing 101 level training will teach you that the people who come out to vote and participate in politics the most are the ones that are engaged the most by politicians, on one side of the coin, and also the ones that make the most noise.
The majority of people, who are not dyed-in-the wool liberals or conservatives, have very little to latch onto in our political system, the major campaigns don't see them as reliable voters so they spend their time elsewhere and the people who are at the ends of the political spectrum are the most likely to be the ones that are angry about how things don't fit into their worldview—making them the squeaky wheel that are hard to ignore for politicians trolling around for supporters.
But even at the true fringes of the political spectrum, people do themselves, and the nation, a disservice by continuing to support the kinds of people Clinton talks about above. We continue to support not only those that are lesser evils, but doing so gives those lesser evils a warrant to keep acting in divisive ways that only leads to further conflict and making it harder for politicians in Washington to work together towards getting work done that the country so badly needs.
We need to have higher standards, no matter where we are on the political spectrum.
Solomon Kleinsmith is a former nonprofit worker, serial social entrepreneur and strident centrist independent blogger from Omaha, Nebraska. His website, Rise of the Center, is the fastest growing blog targeting centrist independents and moderates.