Two-Party System Can Work
a party and get active! urged Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.),
emphasizing to a 300-member Oberlin audience the need for involvement
within our two-party political system. Throughout his 20 years in
the House of Representatives, Frank has focused on discrimination,
individual rights, and economic justice. His October speech attacked
culturally fashionable cynicism towards our current
political process. In America today we have a self-fulfilling
prophecy where critics denigrate politics, elections, and political
activity and then are surprised when people dont participate,
Frank argued that its fashionable to say theres
no difference between the parties anymore
[but] in fact the
Democratic and Republican parties today are more sharply differentiated
than any time in American history. Even in the Civil War, the differences
werent as great as they are now.
Frank also asserted that Americas healthy partisanship
does not preclude bipartisan lawmaking when necessary, and that
the problem of money in politics is overstated.
The congressmans visit was sponsored by the Oberlin Initiative
in Electoral Politics, a program endowed by Richard and Dorothy
Cole 56 to attract more Oberlin students to electoral politics.
The Coles idea for initiating this program sprang from
watching Senate hearings on the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice
Clarence Thomas, said politics department chair Ben Schiff.
They were dismayed about how the senators performed and decided
that U.S. electoral politics could benefit from an injection of
Oberlins valuestransmitted by our alumni entering electoral
Peter Meredith 02