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We Need a new Party

I don't vote party lines because I refuse to relinquish my right, and greatest gift, of autonomous critical thought to a bunch of nit-witted, manipulative jackasses. I don’t plan on discussing particulars about any individual politician here, because it’s not about them, but just as a point of reference, I voted for Obama in '08 because some of the issues he stumped most heavily on agreed with some of the ideals I hold as most important. I don't plan on voting for him in '12, because he turned tail on those very same issues.

When I look at the defining party manifestos for the two major US political parties, however, I lean heavily toward what the Republican Party is supposed to support: A small federal republic, serving as the umbrella under which the largely independent, representative democracies of the states stand united in their core ideals of human rights and individual liberty – which carries with it the heavy yoke of personal responsibility. The key defining difference between the parties, as I see it, is the size and scope of the federal government. I appreciate that the Republican manifesto stresses the importance of local politics and the idea that the role of the federal government should be little more than administrators and arbiters serving the state's representatives. Individual liberty is the mainstay of any democratic system. The further you get from the individual, the further you get from free agency, the further you get from self determination. The government’s role is to protect the individual from those who aim to cause injury to them, to pool common resources in order to provide common resources to benefit the people who provided those resources and to execute basic public administration services. In the Republican ideal, the people have little direct power over the Executive Branch, because the Executive Branch has very little direct power over the people. The citizens elect the state representatives who serve them and the state representatives elect the executives who serve them (and by extension, the will of the people). The office of the President should have a fraction of the power it has now. The President is, essentially, the Commander in Chief of the military, a diplomatic figurehead for international relations, the head of the Executive Branch and the face of the federal government to the citizens. His or her job is to provide leadership through inspiration and influence.

It bothered me a great deal during Obama's run when so many people used "Community Organizer" as an epithet. As I see it, "Community Organizer" is a great description of the President's job.

That said, I don’t think there has been a “Republican” in the office of the President since Ike Eisenhower. Don’t give me the tired, old “No True Scotsman” argument. The simple fact of the matter is both parties have traded in their public administration philosophies in exchange for social “wedge issues” that are wielded as divisive weapons against the people they are supposed to be serving.

Any two-party government has some inherent disabilities rooted so deeply into its core that it is impossible to pull the weeds without uprooting the entire system.

Us vs. Them mentality… The low road is the easy road, and we have ample evidence that it’s the path most travelled by politicians. (Yes, I do make a very clear distinction between “politicians” and “public servants”) If you want people on your side, the easiest way to do that is not to prove your integrity, character and virtue it’s to attack the others’. Thus, wedge issues are borne. Make an enemy of your opponent, and by extension, of your opponent’s supporters. Start a social war. You may be scum, but at least you’re not one of THEM!

Win or Lose… The point of a democratic system is to benefit the most, while being a detriment to the least. The way to do that is compromise with compassion and integrity. With a winner-takes-all design, that simply does not happen. When you have two parties, both generally split in power (with a slight teeter-totter of majority over the years) you will have generally half the people getting what they want and the other half getting the shaft. With a minimum of three parties, cooperation is necessary, which means throat cutting hurts, rather than helps, your political agenda. The more parties you have, the more cooperation is necessary – of course with too many, then cooperation is also hindered, but this is just intended to be an overview.

Cookie Cutters… There is no conceivable way for two parties to fully and truly represent the masses on a multitude of issues with any real level of depth and faithfulness. This will inevitably result in people being forced between the lesser of two evils and far often results in justification and apologetics to defend such forced debasement of integrity – which, of course, lends more power to the oppressive two-party cabal.

This just barely scratches the surface of the problems inherent in a two-party system, but I’m writing a Blog post, not a book and I’m trying to inspire hope, not despair.

Yes, you can be a black, lesbian, pro-choice, atheist, single mother and STILL be a Republican – politically.

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” ~ H. L. Mencken

“There is no greater transgression than to remove agency; to restrict personal liberty; to foist your own values upon others and force them to comply.” ~ Craig Wilkey

I think the only way to have an equitable system is to wrest the restrained liberty of the individuals of this nation from the two-party cabal that has had this country securely in its talons for the entirety of the lives of everyone that is reading this now.
I also believe we have the capacity to get that movement off the ground in one simple action. If someone were to start a fiscally conservative, socially liberal political party at the local and congressional level, I feel quite certain that it would give the big two a run for their money within a decade.

No more ridiculously inflated federal budgets

Return toward state’s rights (with a vigilant eye toward human rights)
     Aside from automatic assault weapons, designed with no purpose other than urban mass slaughter, wholly hand gun control over to the states. Carrying a gun in the wilds of Wyoming and carrying a gun in the wilds of New York City are two vastly different matters, and the people who live there should be able to decide what is acceptable to them.

Return to personal liberty
     Love whom you want to love, marry whom you want to marry, screw whom you want to screw – provided it is consenting adults, of course.
     Do what you want to do, provided it causes no harm to others.

Election reform to return the power to the people
     Only individual human beings can contribute to political races (no money from “Political Action Committees”, so-called “Lobbyists”, companies, a candidate’s own private funds, political parties or any other institutions). You can only contribute to a race you are eligible to cast a vote in. Individuals’ contributions are capped at one month’s federal minimum wage salary (federal hourly minimum wage X 160) per contributor, per candidate, per race. If you don’t have individual supporters behind you, you simply don’t have funds to run a campaign.

Tax Reform
     Flat tax system for individuals and companies.

Entrepreneurship Enablement
     Adam Smith was brilliant, but is now little more than a quaint historical anecdote about how things worked before multi-national conglomerates and gargantuan for-profit corporations turned the option of a level playing field an all but impossible ideal, therefore Capitalism is no longer a self-regulating, competitive market dynamic, but a race to dominate the hegemonic discourse for obscene profits and market shares that are detrimental to the populace and society in general. The point of free market economics is that if you offer a superior product or service and/or a lower price, your will gain market share and the market becomes a mirror of an idealized democratic system. Do well, or be run out of business by those who do. When a large, well-funded corporation can operate a retail outlet at a loss for months – or even years – on end in order to run a smaller retail store out of business it works directly against the very ideals of a self-regulating market. The best way to strengthen our society is to enable individuals to support it. In addition, how many times have your grandmother and stock broker stressed the importance of diversification? Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Allowing corporate conglomerates to monopolize market shares puts us all at a great risk. We faced this with the “too big to fail” banking fiasco. No entity should be so big that its failure puts an entire market segment (or the entire economy) in imminent danger of failure. Any retail outlet that can be run by individuals or small, privately owned companies should not be allowed to be owned by corporations. Let’s return to the days when we shopped in stores owned by members of our own communities – when you spent money in your town it benefitted your town, rather than being siphoned out of your town.

Basic Human Health
     The entire healthcare system, end to end, should be a not-for-profit, non-government industry.

All in all, what I think we need to do is recall that this is supposed to be a government for, of and by the people. The greater measure of autonomy individuals have, the better off we will all be. Seek common ground through real cooperation on those issues significant enough to affect all, and on all other issues, mind your own damned business.

We need to build a system based on integrity and compassion – not one fueled by fear and insecurity.

I can go on (and have gone on) for hours on this, but, as I said earlier, this is a Blog post, not a book, so I have to end it somewhere. My hope is that you will get engaged in this discussion and we can more deeply explore the topics that most interest you.

January 26, 2011, 04:10:06 pm

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