Time for a Third (and more) Party
Tony E Hansen
For most of the post-World War era, a two-party frame has plagued our political system with useless politics and posturing. Yet as the comic, Lewis Black, explains, the system “is a bowl of sh!t looking in the mirror at itself.” Democrats and Republicans are slivers of the same mold that cater to the corporate elite that have little interest in preserving middle class integrity. We are accosted during election cycles by political pundits and parties with tired, worn, and partisan rhetoric that do nothing to solve the real issues. Anyone brave enough to try to run against this machine will be squashed by these powerful interests and disregarded as inconsequential (or unworthy to be on the same stage as the party clones). Neither party has proposed serious and substantial policy directions in Congress, yet they keep getting to go back to office. The time has come to rid us of this outdated framework that inhibits innovative and productive public policy.
The current political debate is more about personality, the tired rhetoric, and being able to drink with someone rather than substantive policy questions. Rhetoric is a nice-to-have feature, but we need to focus upon the issues if we mean to solve crisis. Otherwise, we continue to kick the proverbial can as has been done for the past few decades. Whether we have President Romney or President Obama, we need voices from the middle class that are tired of rhetoric and more interested in solutions. (In municipal elections for Des Moines, the parties are not declared as part of the election process and the policies that are instituted are far more constructive than the policies and regulations coming from Washington or the statehouse.)
Democrats and Republicans claim to have enough room in their “Big Tops” without actually representing anyone. The primary elections of the past Presidential elections prove there are vast differences between factions within the parties. Why do these factions have to conform to a “big top” while masking their real intentions? Lewis Black is correct in that the two parties tend to be mirrors of each other because they have big powers in both pockets, and thus, the two parties have a vested interested in keeping the current power structure intact. As long as we maintain this ridiculous system, we may never see real progress in favor of maintaining the status quo politics.
A coalition (similar to European parliamentary systems) has the potential to yield the actual voices of people without masking those real and innovative opinions. Progressives, libertarians, socialists, greens, social conservatives, and others have distinct and interesting opinions that easily get ignored by the establishment as “irrelevant.”
Consider the television series Star Trek: Deep Space 9 where there is a fictional race called Ferengi (FER-en-gee) whose motives are the acquisition of wealth and profit. They often quote set of “Rules of Acquisition” (ROA). For one, ROA 239 is quoted, “Never be afraid to mislabel a product.” This is marketing to customers to buy inflated values or outright false claims. That is what the Democrats and Republicans do to Americans about their brand of politics “being good for America.”
Just think of the real issues here. We must rid ourselves of the foreign oil dependency or major shockwaves will hit our economy. Until then, our military and economic security will be tied to hostile supply chains. We need to build and to revitalize infrastructure that supports this goal. We should not be rewarding companies for shipping jobs overseas, but instead reward business for creating local jobs by building locally. We need to promote local businesses rather than the big-box chains because they are the cornerstones to thriving communities. They are likely to keep their products, services, and jobs here.
We need to recognize the worth of all individuals in America (e.g. white, black, Latino, gay, or non-Christian). We need a responsible immigration policy that does not reward illegal immigration or company recruitment of illegal workers and punish the firms that do. For immigration, do not reward those who came here illegally, but of those who did not, give them a fair path to citizenship equivalent to the many people have paid the price to be here legally.
We need a tax structure that is simpler and fair. Ensure that Social Security and Medicare are available for the next generations. Protect the rights of workers and their savings by limiting how much destruction the upper elite can impose upon us with their reckless investing mechanisms. Stabilize the market by putting a moratorium on trading for a period of 30 days because the current reckless volatility is destroying savings and retirement accounts.
Put the focus back on science and math rather than athletics, and reward the teachers that show progress in their classes. Buy back federal student loans and reduce cost of college educations instead of giving the banks bailout money.
All of these are real substantive policy issues that require tackling hard issues. For these, I would vote and like to see the votes for the interests of Iowans rather than party line vote. We must focus upon the policy issues rather than towing rhetoric that serves to stalemate progress or promotes a popularity contest. I know what it is like to live paycheck-to-paycheck, and I know what it is like to save money in investments to watch the fickle Wall Street bozos ruin nest eggs. I know what it is like to lose precious people in life and have government intervene where it should not. I have studied political science for years, and we need something better than this antiquated system of corrupt politics in America that shows the wealth of American interests and American innovation.