If what I keep hearing proves to be true, there are going to be lots of people who refuse to vote for either presidential candidate. They are saying there is no appreciable difference between the two political parties. While I agree with them, I doubt if failure to participate will make any impression on the party leaders. I think what they really care about is the electoral votes that will earn one of them the office. And frankly, I don’t know what it will take to break the stronghold the Democrats and Republicans have on our political process short of forming other political parties.
It will obviously take strong will and a true sense of purpose to start another political party. I think that a real grass-roots movement would work, if anyone can remember how to organize such an endeavor. I believe people are tired of money ruling everything. They see the results when monied interests are allowed to control government. I think what they want are sincere people who have nothing personal to gain, who go out on a limb and begin to build a political party that is truly concerned with the welfare of the people.
Part of the problem is the national media and the role they play in choosing candidates. Media control the costs of running advertisements, which accounts for much of the need for so much money. Also, by the way they report on the candidates, they can make or break one’s chances. Howard Dean’s downfall is an example of that. Even today, many would support Dean’s candidacy, despite him being labeled by some as “the screamer.”
Sometimes, it’s easy to believe that as public citizens we confuse people in positions of power. I can see why they would feel we reward them for inappropriate behavior. When these individuals are allowed to succeed and get paid scads of money, they equate that with a stamp of approval.
If we put unworthy people in office, then that obviously means it’s OK for them to remain unworthy, and we will support their unworthiness. They obviously don’t understand that there are lines which they cannot cross without being held accountable. They blame us for that because we the public never pointed that out to them.
When you take people of poor character and make them the CEOs of a profitable companies, you hand them the keys to the safe, and then they don’t understand why they will be punished if they steal the money. All the while, of course, we’re standing on the sidelines, applauding as television cameras parade them before us in all their wealth and splendor. Aren’t they only acting out the roles we created for them by not informing them of the rules of behavior?
It may sound ridiculous, but there really is a tendency these days to believe that others learn appropriate and inappropriate behavior by some kind of osmosis. We see children in our own communities whose parents fail to teach them proper behavior and watch as school teachers are punished for trying to correct that situation. Then we marvel when young people misbehave. Well, these young people grow up and become adults and still never learn proper behavior because people in important positions continue to give them a free pass. This is what happens when a person’s worth is decided on the basis of how much money he has. All bets are off that this person will ever learn to comply with civilized society’s rules governing proper and improper actions even if he is caught and sent to jail.
So, really trying to right what’s wrong in America is going to require superhuman efforts. Fortunately, there are enough decent and fair-minded people to make the effort worthwhile. If someone refusing to vote for either presidential candidate would set up a Web site where others who feel the same could be in contact, that could be the beginning of a new political party. The information highway has gone a long way in simplifying what was once a long-drawn out process. It might be surprising how fast such a momentum would build. Don’t get me wrong. Money is good. But sometimes being desperate enough just to use what you have will convince other people of your seriousness.
One of the things we are all going to have to relearn is that nothing regarding a new political party is going to happen unless we make it happen. We may be the “noble experiment,” but we are one worth saving from the “spoilers.”
Let’s quit complaining about the problem and begin to fashion the solution. We are the “we” in “we the people of the United States …” Let’s start acting like it.
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