Tusinski: The party divide isn’t real. The class divide is.

Dylan Tusinski

a Biden flag and a Trump flag in a window
A single dorm room with a Joe Biden flag and a Donald Trump flag Nov. 2. (Ryan Schmidt | The Collegian)

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Look to your left. Look to your right. No matter what those people’s political views are, you have more in common with both of them than you ever will with Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk or anyone in the top 1%.


Americans are more polarized today than they have been in centuries. Issues like health care, immigration, the economy and even COVID-19 recovery all divide Americans among partisan lines in numbers we haven’t seen in decades.

More important than the polarization, and far more important than the individual issues, is reality. That reality is that while all the endless arguing leads to political gridlock that goes nowhere, the rich are using your manufactured anger to rob you blind.

Americans are suffering, especially economically. Americans hold more debt than ever, more of us are being crushed by more student debt than ever before, inflation is on the rise, and all the while Congress is refusing to raise the minimum wage — despite the fact that it doesn’t provide for Americans in the way it needs to.

Yet, through it all, a solid majority of Americans say there is too wide a gap between the 1% and the 99%, but neither the population nor the politicians it elects are doing anything to combat the issue. Why?

It’s simple: both the Democrats and the Republicans in our government are bought and sold by the wealthy.

Our government isn’t governing for the 99% anymore. They couldn’t care less about you.”

When looking at the total dollar amounts lobbyists spent on current members of Congress, you’ll find that the total lobbying dollars fall in a near 50-50 split between parties. Lobbying groups, including Super PACs, are spending more than they ever have before. More than half of our congressional representatives are estimated to be millionaires, with many worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

It’s really quite simple: Our government isn’t governing for the 99% anymore. They couldn’t care less about you. They’re governing to line their own pockets, and maintain the status quo — regardless of their party affiliations. Like the late comedian George Carlin once said: “It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it!”

These inequalities were highlighted during the pandemic more than they ever have been before. As Americans lost a historic amount of jobs, an issue disproportionately effecting people of color, American billionaires saw their wealth skyrocket, gaining $845 billion during the pandemic. Jeff Bezos in particular took advantage of Amazon’s vulnerable workers during the pandemic, giving thousands of them COVID-19 while setting himself on track to be the first-ever trillionaire within just a few years.

Aside from the wealthy taking advantage of an already-skewed system, our government stood by and watched. Our elected officials did next to nothing as low-income workers permanently lost their jobs, between 30 to 40 million Americans faced eviction and millions saw their medical debt climb during the height of a once-in-a-generation pandemic — all while workers were laid off at unprecedented levels and their wages were suddenly put on pause.

America stood alone in its “free market” approach to the pandemic. Canada is sending many workers  $500 a week for the duration of the pandemic. Denmark has been giving its citizens up to $3,800 a month since March of 2020. Ireland reduced its standards for paid sick leave during the pandemic, meaning most people got paid sick leave.


Over the course of the pandemic, both Democrats and Republicans have had control over the legislative and presidential branches of our government. They both had their chances to give us the relief we need. All either party gave us was a grand total of $3,200 split between three different rounds of stimulus checks for the last year, increased medical debt and rare cases of insanely high hospital bills.

Does this system really seem like it works?

Sure, go ahead and argue about abortion. Argue about gun control. Argue about religious freedom, the border wall or whatever other issue gets you riled up. That’s exactly the way those in power want it. Argue and stew over these issues that will never impact you on a tangible, meaningful level, so they can steal your Social Security, your Medicare and your wages, all while you’re preoccupied.

It’s the American way.

Dylan Tusinski can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @unwashedtiedye.