An American, an Englishman, a Canadian and an Irishman Walked into a Bar

I have developed a habit of pointing out similarities between American liberals and conservatives. I keep observing these behavioral patterns and it angers me that each side thinks they’re better than the other. The conflict between our liberals and conservatives is disturbing. It’s alarming how polarized our country has become.

Recently, I wondered how it is in other countries. They seem to have more peace in their political arenas than we do. I started a topic in which I asked those from other countries to weigh in and tell us how it’s different in their countries, how is it that their liberals and conservatives seem to get along better than ours do?

The topic wasn’t limited to Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom, but I named those three because they were the ones that came to mind as I wrote the initial piece. It didn’t generate as much discussion as I had hoped, but I got a response from a true-bred of each of the countries I named.

The four of us appreciate beer, so I liken this sharing of thoughts to us sitting down in a bar and discussing our political systems.

Malcolm is probably as British as you can get. He’s no Londoner either. He hails from Manchester.

Malcolm feels that Americans are more open about politics. I can agree with that. In America, politics are everywhere. Politics are discussed in restaurants, bars, stores, on the streets. Anywhere you can think of, someone’s apt to start up on some political issue. Every election year, we see signs on front lawns in support of one candidate or another.

Malcolm can’t remember the last time he had a political discussion at the pub. He says Brits tend to hold their cards closer to their chests and political posters and placards in front yards are rare. Even during elections.

Imagine that. If people keep quiet about politics, then there’s no one to lash out at. I think it would be beneficial if more Americans took up that practice.

Malcolm admitted that, like in America, political parties in the United Kingdom hold rallies and, just like in America, if someone at these rallies utters a word against any of the speakers, that person is beaten up and thrown out. However, unlike in America, UK political parties hold one rally annually.

He says the United Kingdom is actually a three party system. and that there are a few smaller parties after the three main parties. The three main parties are the Conservatives, the Labour and the Liberal Democrats. The smaller parties are Brexit, Green and Indepedence.

That doesn’t sound too much different from America. America is a two-party system. The main parties are Republicans and Democrats, but we have a number of smaller parties in addition to the two main parties.

I completely agree with Malcolm that a three-party system makes the people less polarized. It’s especially helpful having a third main party that works for the people who are not entirely happy with the left leaning party or the right leaning and need a party that’s more in the middle of the road.  This is why I’m so supportive of the Libertarian party. The Libertarian party seems the most in the middle of the road that I’m going to get in America.

But currently, there are only two main parties in America. Republicans and Democrats. Libertarians or any other party are a joke to the majority. So, America keeps the two-party system, becomes more and more polarized, and then, eventually, America will pop.

Marty is the Canadian I was telling you about. He likes hockey, as a fan and a player. He’s also a musician and seems especially fond of the bass guitar.

So, we had another round of beers brought to our table and Marty opened up on Canada’s political system.

According to Marty, Canada is a three-party system like the UK. Canada also has other, smaller parties. But Marty feels that Canada’s politics are becoming more like US politics. Polarized left and right, and more political ads are attacking other parties instead of explaining their platforms.

That makes me think Canadians ought to stop paying so much attention to American politics. We are a bad influence when it comes to political parties. I know several Canadians and I rarely hear them talking about political issues in their own country. They’re always talking about our politics. What’s up with that?

I believe there’s hope for Canada, though. They have a three-party system and I think that should keep the people from becoming too polarized. Just don’t let one of those parties merge with another. That would suck.

Frodi is an Irishman. He’s from Ireland. Not Northern Ireland. Ireland. According to Frodi, Ireland’s two biggest political parties are essentially the same, but split by the politics of the Irish Civil War. I think that means these two political parties have the same goals, the same policies, the same ideas, but because of something that occurred during the Civil War, they remain separated.

Frodi admitted, though, that the two largest parties are unable to get fifty percent of the votes between them. That implies that there are other parties at work in Ireland and they are doing fairly well. Frodi goes on to say that all the parties stay on reasonably civil terms, because no single party commands the majority and they all have to work together.

I think that’s brilliant.

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