Why America needs to abolish its two-party political system
[Originally published in August 2015, but still surprisingly relevant.]
Moderation. It's a word often used by healthcare professionals to describe the way in which one should eat ice cream. "You can eat ice cream, but only do so in moderation." Yeah, as if that'll ever happen...
When it comes to politics, moderation seems to have been thrown out the window, except by the likes of Hillary Clinton, John Kasich, and perhaps a few other presidential candidates. Hillary is an unlikely winner due to her email scandal, among other things, and Kasich never even gets news coverage. Joe Biden is fairly centrist and might stand a chance if he ever runs.
Their counterparts, including Bernie Sanders on the left, and Donald Trump on the right, profess starkly opposed views, almost throwing the idea of a spectrum of political views out the window.
The fact is, we need immigration reform, although we shouldn't be forcibly deporting those living in our country already. We also shouldn't be building a wall. But illegal immigration poses a problem for this country, largely due to the fact that we don't have an infrastructure in place to support even the immigrants who come here legally. Illegal immigration poses an even greater challenge.
On the other hand, we do need reformations of the Civil Liberties Act. LGBT individuals, among other minority groups, are frequently marginalized in this country and are treated as ingrates rather than people.
Once again, we need to continue using the natural resources of this country, including oil and natural gas, despite the wishes of Bernie Sanders for a fully green economy. We also still need to work toward becoming green, a goal that I doubt Donald Trump shares. Green energy doesn't (excuse the pun) crop up over night. Corn and soybean oil fuels such as biodiesel are costly to produce at present in large quantities. Electric cars can't move us across the nation, let alone across the state, without spending a good chunk of time at a charging station.
Energy independence is the first step to moving away from our dependence on oil, because with more money coming into the country rather than going out of it, we will have more money to devote to developing new green resource opportunities. That is, if we take the steps needed to tax corporations. But corporations that keep jobs on American soils should be granted some form of tax break while corporations that ship jobs overseas should be charged an increased tax rate.
I can't think of any presidential candidate with the brains to have put all this into a single plan. Not a single one. But perhaps it isn't a matter of brains. Perhaps it's a matter of bravery. The bravery to stand against the binary forces that drive this nation. Admittedly, parties such as the Green Party and the Libertarian Party will never stand a chance against the Republicans or the Democrats. Neither will most independent candidates — certainly not in the presidential race.
So what is a moderate individual, one who longs for all individuals in this country to be treated with equality while simultaneously longing for an expansion of our nation's economic growth, to do? The answer, at present, is a nonanswer: Vote for more moderate candidates, and pray that they win.
But if we truly want change, and want to see a political spectrum rather than mere reds and blues, we need to abolish political parties altogether and allow candidates to run based on their own merits. Adding new political parties and minimizing the roles of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party simply won't cut it. Parties must go. I'm going to sound like a TEA Party member here for a minute and say that "something is not what the Founding Fathers would have wanted". That something is a party system. *gasp* OK, so that definitely doesn't sound like something any TEA Party candidate would say. Oh, well. I'm trying here, folks.
But in all honesty, limiting ourselves to a form of democracy controlled by parties that can be "lobbied," or, more accurately, bought, is simply not a good idea. What we need is to stand up and fight for our individual rights. What we need is to stand up and fight for the ideals within our hearts. When we delegate responsibilities to parties, those responsibilities soon become corrupted by lobbyists of all kinds, be they corporate or nonprofit. But when we represent ourselves, there is no room for lobbying in the traditional sense. We may, indeed, attempt to influence our legislators, but we cannot possibly, under such a revised system, expect our legislators to be indelibly influenced by their own party ties.
I know: It's a crazy idea. So crazy, it just might work. Who's with me?