Democrat or Republican? How about something less terrible

We can have 700 cable channels, hundreds of car choices, live anywhere in the country, but we only have two choices for politics? Photo: Political parties/ flickr

WASHINGTON, October 15, 2013 — As the next election cycle looms, and in the midst of several gubernatorial races, Americans are urged to get out and vote. They are being told “let your voices be heard!” by Republicans. “Let your voices be heard” by Democrats. And that’s it. Apparently in the United States of America there are only two depositories for their voices in the majority of elections.

It’s kind of like choosing between having your pants lit on fire while you wear them and asking a cave man to pull your tooth with a spiked club.

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So why don’t we develop less terrible options?

The American political spectrum is no longer red and blue. Recent events compounded with not so recent events have fatigued American interest in the two party system, as many support things that both the Democrats and Republicans say. Perhaps, in many ways the parties are one in the same.

But American political thought has evolved beyond that.

Instead of republicans and democrats, there are liberals and conservatives. There are progressives and libertarians. There are socialists and capitalists. There are those who believe in the right to own guns, while also supporting pro-choice initiatives. There are those who want to fund essential public programs, but are against the runaway public spending without limits. These are people who are caught having to compromise their political beliefs by choosing one main line party or the other because there is no one party that believes everything they do.

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This has all been said before. There are plenty of article out there on this. So why should you care?

Because while third, fourth, and fifth parties are a long way away from taking a substantial share of the votes establishment Democrats and establishment Republicans are scared.

In Ohio, a bill passed the state senate that would eliminate third parties from the ballot if they did not garner three percent of the national vote from the 2012 presidential election.

What does national politics have to do with how third parties run in individual states?

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The answer is that it has nothing to do with how third parties run in individual states. This is a move by Republicans and Democrats in Ohio to suppress the inclusion of third party candidates in an effort to curtail the siphoning of votes by third party voters who would otherwise have only two choices.

So now we are back to lighting your pants on fire, or caveman dentistry.

Where is our choice? We are told to make our voices heard, we are told to get out and vote, but in all the diversity of thought, religion, ethnicity, and cultural heritage we are reduced to choosing between two candidates.

The United States is a vastly culturally expansive nation with dozens of ethnicities and cultures. Even though for some reason the Census Bureau lumps “White” into people coming from Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, and “Asian” to mean everyone from India to the Korean Peninsula, and “African” to mean everything below the Sahara, the cultural divisions and differences within those categories is staggering. However, despite the fact that there are 150 million voters coming from dozens of cultural backgrounds, personal backgrounds, educational backgrounds, and religions, their voices are tapered off and funneled into the red pill, or the blue pill.

How does that make any sense?

Even within the American political spectrum there are differences enough to make parties within the parties.

On the left, it is interesting to have watched the progression through history of the Democratic Party since FDR. The man who created social welfare programs and entitlement in this country as an effort to pull through the Great Depression did so believing and hoping that these measures would be short term. JFK also believed that people should not live off of the government if they could work.

Yet here we are 50 years later and the Democrats have essentially purchased their voter base through perpetual entitlement and Obamacare. Neither are “helping people” because “helping people” implies the willful gifting of personal time or money in an effort to better another person or group’s situation. When you tax one half of the population through force to pay for the other half of the population that is not charity, that is not “giving,” that is not “helping people.” That is the blatant and forceful theft of personal funds from individuals who work and contribute to the economy in the name of taxation and charity.

As it has been said time and time again, it is not charitable, and it is not generous, if it is not your money that you are giving away in the first place. As Benjamin Franklin said “When the people find that they can legislate themselves money, that will be the end of the Republic.” Social programs are not bad, welfare is not bad, but the way that the oversized, bloated, and corrupt government handles social welfare programs is abhorrent, and demands drastic action.

On the right, the situation is not much better. The Republicans are supposed to be the party of personal freedom and small government, yet under a Republican the Department of Homeland Security was created, the Patriot Act was put in place, the “War on Drugs” was started, the EPA was formed, OSHA was born, all of which were drastic expansions of the federal government.

Some of the greatest threats to American liberties today are the DHS and the NSA domestic spying programs. Many within the Republican party believe that while they should limit the size of the government, government is still the answer to so many problems. “I’m the government and I am here to help” is not always the answer, and it is rarely a good one.

It is rare to find Republicans who would willfully begin to move power away from the federal government to the state and local levels, but that is what needs to be done. You are not small government if you wish to impose regulations, you are not small government if you seek to raise the interest rates on student loans. You are certainly not small government when it comes to the regulation of marriage and the rights of women. To truly be the party of liberty one must return the power of choice to the people.

These are the choices you have America. If you want your voices heard you have to channel one of these two parties, and that means compromising one or more of your core political beliefs in order to adhere to your other core political beliefs.

So, what can be done? What can we as a people do to let our voices be heard?

Demand change.

Use the media, call your senators, write op-eds, get educated. Radio talk host Dave Ramsey calls out the right and the left and tells people to learn more about politics. His message is simple; stop regurgitating the party lines and go out and find your own political philosophy. People say that yelling the loudest in an argument doesn’t make you right. Unfortunately in today’s political arguments it does. The one who yells the loudest with the most passion and the most anger in a political argument often wins. It’s like shock and awe for low information voters. You know these people, the same people who refuse to have a civil and polite conversation about policy with you and go right to name calling? It’s harder to get through to them than it is to get to the gold at Ft. Knox.

Get educated, have an original thought. It’s okay to have ideals that are on both sides of the aisle, that is the point of all this. Don’t just verbally barf up the talking points you hear on the news like you’re an ideological bird feeding your conversation hungry chicks, get informed. Stop toeing the party line. If you want to talk about gun control don’t channel Piers Morgan. He knows nothing about guns and his words on the subject are useless. It is the same argument that pro-choice activists use for their ideals. A 72 year old man has no idea what you are going through, who is he to talk about women’s health? Unless of course that 72 year old man is a doctor. Create your own argument, and you will be a hundred times more effective.

Americans need more than two options in the political spectrum, and not just fringe third parties, but real viable third party candidates who are allowed to participate in every national and statewide debate, should there be strong enough support. Our Constitution is ignored daily, our crippling national debt is ignored daily, and the voices of those who are not Democrats and who are not Republicans are ignored daily, and even some within the establishments are ignored. You can go to McDonald’s and choose from dozens of options, you can go to the car dealership and choose from hundreds of cars, you can go to the liquor store and choose anything you want, but is it realistic to believe that in a nation that is run on an economy that is based on choice and competition that we have only two viable parties capable of running this country?

This new law that has just passed Senate and awaits the next step is a sign that establishment Politicians are scared. Now is the time to begin pushing for your third party candidates. Now is the time where we have to hold the establishment parties accountable for their corruption and their exploitation of the American people. Until then, and until we as a nation update our political spectrum to better reflect our growingly diverse political philosophies then the people of the United States will continue to be stuck with choosing between a pissed off elephant and a baying jackass.  


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Conor Higgins

Conor Higgins has a B.A. from Catholic University in DC in American History, with a concentration on guerrilla warfare on American soil. He has an M.A. in US History from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, with a concentration on Cold War insurgency. He believes that all news and all information should be taken with a grain of salt, and implores people everywhere to seek news stories everywhere. 

Higgins is also a fervent believer in the traditional role of media, in terms of acting as a balanced check on government policies and individuals regardless of party affiliation. But in the end, he believes that no matter how heated an issue is, there is nothing that can't be discussed over a smoke and some whiskey. 

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