ADVICE: “Why Call Them Political ‘Parties’ When They’re so Un-Party?”

Every week, New York City’s own party messiah takes your life questions and sets you safely down the right path to a solution in his new weekly advice column in The Village Voice. Read the latest edition of Ask Andrew W.K. below or by clicking HERE.

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August 17th, 2015

Dear Andrew W.K.,

Why are they called the Democratic “Party” and Republican “Party” when these politicians are the last people I would want to party with?


Dear J,

As a very wise friend once explained to me, the word “party” originates from the word “parté,” which means to partition or separate. It refers to a group intentionally removing itself from the larger whole. It’s strange how many of us — including me — now use the word “party” to represent a kind of inclusive celebration. The most joyful parties thrive on a sense of oneness that often defy separation and division, a sort of coming together that fuses a shared sense of joy with an understanding that we’re all here, whether we like or not, so why not make the best of it? It seems that the spirit of professional governmental politics has tended to drift away from this idea of oneness in favor of a world of endless separation. The word “party” will always be a paradox in this way, a sense of oneness inside a sense of separation. But inside that spirit separation should always be a desire to return to the whole.

Traditional political party pursuits appear to revolve around the unnatural results of intentional division and playing sides against one another. We see the creation of divisions where there aren’t any, and the twisted amplification of natural divisions that are intentionally distorted. As such, people are divided for no good reason except to sow discord, or to stoke anger for the sake of perceived progress when that progress often later leads to further frustration.

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