Thursday, January 18, 2007

Options

I’m in tune with the body politic. I sort of have to be. One might also say that, due to my profession, I approach these matters objectively. Actually, objectivity is part of my make-up anyway; I’m not known to make snap judgments and decisions based on emotion. This does not mean, however, that I do not have an opinion on any number of matters currently on the national and world agendas. I do, and I intend to weigh in on one right now.

I come from good Democratic stock. I am not, however, a registered Democrat. There are idealistic differences between what I believe and planks in the Democratic Party platform. The bulk of these “incompatibilities” are in the form of “nanny” laws. I just cringe when the government tells me what I must do or not - under penalty of law - for my own good. I believe in liberty over control at every possible point in the policy making process. I’m realistic, but all things being equal - I’m with liberty first.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have a Republican Party that is very selective in which of its principles it will stand by. Of course, it’s the party of small government, decreased regulation, etc. - except when it comes to issues of personal liberty. A woman’s right to choose is always a headline getter, but it’s not the only instance where government control is given priority over personal liberty. As far as small government is concerned… well, I don’t live under a rock.

Both parties are ripe with hypocrisy and corruption. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, yes, but power of any kind is a corruptive influence for some. No, not all and perhaps not even most, but enough that the entire capital emits a fouls odor. Unfortunately, even the good ones will protect the bad - a saga both parties have reveled in exposing in the other year after year. Change is again in the air - but where to go?

Keith Brumley, a minister from the Milwaukee, WI area and a fellow blogger has brought to my attention an interesting possible direction. As you may have surmised, I am not affiliated (read, registered) with either the Democratic or Republican Parties. I plan to re-register as a “decline to state” voter (for professional reasons) but I think it’s quite obvious that I identify with a certain third party. The Libertarian Party could be described as more conservative than the Republican Party - especially these Republicans, but at the same time, depending on the issue, it is more liberal than the Democratic Party.

How in the world could a third party candidate make any real inroads into the “system” that is set up to elect only one of two parties? Indeed, how can a real option become available for the office of, say, president? There is precious little real difference between the two parties currently. Oh, sure - there is plenty of difference in what they say, but look at what they do.

U.S. Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) has recently formed a presidential exploratory committee. What’s that you say? There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell for a Republican to win the White House? Perhaps, but this is no ordinary Republican. He was the Libertarian nominee for president in 1988. From a conservative idealistic point of view, Paul’s Libertarian ideals are far more representative of the Republican Party than the party is acting right now. From a liberal point of view, getting government out of certain social entanglements looks like a good thing. From every perspective, it would be difficult to be worse off. It would be a breath of fresh air and maybe, just maybe, it might bring some common sense back to government.

I want to be clear that I am not endorsing Paul. Honestly, I know very little about him. I know my friend Keith is behind him, and I am glad to see Keith involved in politics again - he has been so disgusted with the entire process. I know that he has hope and faith in our nation, as do I. My point in all this is to encourage participation in the political process. Pay attention. The quagmire we are involved in might be avoided in the future if we hold our elected officials accountable - and we do that at the ballot box. There are other options.

21 comments:

kate said...

I too am disgusted in the entire process and frankly where it has taken the US internationally! grrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Keith said...

Mike - great writing, as usual, my friend!

Appreciate you helping to get the word out about Ron Paul. I think many will be surprised by him as they hear more about him and from him.

And it was important to notw that Paul is NOT a part of the Republican establishment. He is actually despised by the GOP and they often support Democratic candidates who run against him. He has ALWAYS been anti-war and, most importantly, if he were elected President, would MEAN IT when he swears to uphold and defend our constitution.

If that were to happen ... just watch as the lobbyist and other Washington slime exits the city as fast as they can. He'd put them all out of business!

Thanks again for drawing some attention his way!

utenzi said...

The Libertarian Party has been coopted by right wing Republicans and it's a bloody shame. While the Republicans espouse many of the Libertarian ideals, when it comes right down to it they're a party in favor of big government and lots of nanny-type laws. Pretending to be Libertarian is ridiculous.

Michele sent me to fume at politics and politicians, Mike.

Wordnerd said...

This was powerful and provocative, Mike. I, too, am upset with the way things are, yet am at a loss as to what, or who, can fix it.

Great post.

craziequeen said...

I am SO confused by politics these days...

I mean, I have always been puzzled by these people who cheat and steal, and yet run our country - but now I am totally confused....

In Britain we are on the brink of national strikes. Guess sometimes you have to bark back at the dog.

cq
Michele sent me to say hi, Mike!

Anna said...

Great writing...

My heart his completely broke by events that have taken place with the war...and I just dont know what is next?

I admire the way you can give youe view point without completely alienating people who have different views. That is how things change and people can communicate well with eachother. It is so important. I have had a different view of world politics since we have moved to the UK. It has been...interesting to say the least.

I will check out Ron Paul to hear more about him.

Thanks.

Anna said...

Sorry, I can't type tonight...I meant to say...

my heart is broken (not broke)...it will keep me up tonight if I dont correct myself! :)

Carmi said...

The divisiveness of the current political situation in the U.S. stuns me. When members of one party refuse to acknowledge members of the other as true Americans, something's wrong.

Here in Canada, we have two major parties with fairly defined ideologies. But there's enough room for alternative politicos, and everyone "gets" that everyone else wants what's best for the country.

Sadly, I don't see that in the U.S.

Judy said...

Just popping in from Michele's to say hello :-)

Sarch said...

Michael this guy sounds interesting...dare I say "different". However it sounds like there might be some areas with him that I simply couldn't align with.

Michele sent me this evening.

Badoozie said...

i would so vote third party if it had a chance. maybe i'll just do it anyway. and if that doesn't work i'll resort to violence. hitting with plastic baseball bats is my forte

Snaggle Tooth said...

Thanks for the interesting candidate info to research... It's truelly all about the choices.

I would like to see an Independant, Libertarian, or Green candidate win presidency n rock the foundations of those spoiled main party members...

hanulf said...

Yeah... I don't think legislating morality works very well, you know? As a residen alien I can't vote in this country, and it has been almost a relief - I would have no idea who to vote for, anyway! It was much easier back home in Norway where we have some 13 political parties; at least this offers a more nuanced political landscape.

Michele says hi!

Dave said...

Interesting post. Coming from England our political system is radically different from yours so It's difficult to comment. Perhaps the best difference is that our system is not so dependent on money, not only rich people get voted into power. By the way I have no idea what Craziequeen is talking about when she talks about 'brink of national strikes'. She must be confused again!
Here from Michele's today.

netchick said...

Hey from Michele's!

I'm a card-carrying Liberal in Canada... So, if I were in the US voting system, I'd likey be voting for the Democratic party.

That said, you make good points. Thanks for discussing the topic!

Bob-kat said...

That is such a good post. I am glad I decided to drop by. It is pretty much the same here in the UK. There is very little difference in what the parties actually do. In the UK we are particulalry suffering from a nanny state at the moment. The labour party have passed more 'laws' for our own good than any other government. I for one advocate personal responsibility towards the self and towards others.

You are right, we do have a choice and we can maker a difference rather than be apathetic.

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

The political process is definitely flawed, to say the least. For me, part of the blame comes from lack of leadership.

I think paying attention is indeed very important.

Lee Ann said...

I sometimes think the party itself does not matter anymore. Things have changed so much over the years.

margalit said...

What scares me about the Libertarian party is it's digust with the poor and it's refusal to want to provide a social saftety net for the impovrished. I don't like the whole "they can rise up out of poverty if they want to" way of thinking, which is falacious at best. As a disabled mother of two who cannot work much due to ill health, my family doesn't qualify for any social services other than SSDI, which we live on. It is a tiny fixed income and it does not come with healthcare, housing subsidies, food stamps, or any thing else. And we don't qualify for any of those things due to a poverty level that has remained stagnant for years due to republicans not caring about the poor. We don't need more of that in government. We need to care for all our citizens, regardless of their financial status. I'm sick to death of the rich getting richer at the expense of the middle and lower classes.

Here via Michele

colleen said...

I like Paul and fiscally conservative Democrats better than the black and whites. I never get how the Republicans say they want smaller government and yet want to dictate over my personal life...or say they are right to life and then don't seem to care much what happens when they get here or don't have much to say about civilians dying in Iraq.

Becky68 said...

I'm a liberal born & raised but I know my father, at least, was interested in the libertarian party back in 1988 also- I haven't given it much thought since then but maybe it's time....