American politics is dominated by two major political parties, Democrats and Republicans. Politicians and United States citizens can form groups, political parties and political opinions based on ideology. Left-leaning or liberal ideas form the basis for the Democrat Party and right-leaning or conservative ideas form the basis for the Republican Party. These definitions are not completely rigid, and “the Left and Right terms were created because political ideology is viewed on a continuum; most people generally hold views somewhere in the middle” (Balanced Politics, 2009).
Debate and policy differences often lead people and politicians of different political ideologies to argue over what is right for individuals and entities within our country. Generally, a left-leaning ideology favors larger government, higher taxes and less freedom for individuals and companies. Liberal ideology places an obligation on government entities to benefit individuals and groups of people who may need various forms of assistance. Thus, “disadvantaged” people are helped and a more level playing field is constructed when liberal ideology is embraced.
Conversely, a right-leaning ideology favors smaller government, lower taxes and greater freedom for individuals and companies. People are allowed to fend for themselves, unfettered and undeterred by government oversight and regulation. Individualism and personal achievement are hallmarks of right-leaning political ideology. The United States has thrived for more than two centuries as these different political ideologies have struggled with each other.
If one of these belief systems were to vanish, our country would almost certainly tilt in a destructive way toward one end of the continuum mentioned previously. Elections and political discourse allow American citizens to express their views and to elect like-minded representatives. Political ideologies, left and right, are essential principles that allow people to debate what is best for our country and to shape our government. References (2009, July 3). Political Ideology Definitions. balancedpolitics. org.