02 March 2010

Former Democratic Official No Longer A Democrat, Says We Need A New Party

It is pretty easy to find articles detailing why someone is no longer a Republican. Here's one on why he is no longer a Democrat.

Foreign Policy: Why I am no longer a Democrat

That's not to say I suddenly feel greater sympathy for the Republican Party. Quite the contrary. They have never been more out-of-touch, insensitive, or odious to me... and that's saying something given that I have lived through the incompetence of the George W. Bush years, the vapidity and excess of the Reagan years and the corruption of the Nixon Administration.

I just feel that both political parties in this country are intellectually bankrupt and, fortunately, increasingly irrelevant to the politics of the Internet era. Old styles of organization and management of interest groups -- of which political parties are a vestigial artifact -- will, I believe and hope, be gradually superceded by new mechanisms to identify affinities, promote dialogue and mobilize action that are less rigid and adapt more rapidly to circumstances.

Some pundits, citing the record levels of disgust and distrust that dominate the views of the American people toward their political system, have started to write that now is the time for a third party. While I would welcome such a development, my sense is that given the way federal and local election laws are currently written and election commissioners typically rule, the deck is stacked against such possibilities. This is something that urgently needs to be fixed. That said, I wouldn't rule out a new against-the-odds push in this direction even before needed changes are made given the justifiable levels of contempt for the masters and misdeeds of the current American political duopoly.

But frankly, before we get to reform of the political system from within Washington (hugely unlikely) or among the political elites that make campaigns happen (more likely but still not a good bet for producing an electoral win), how about the kind of reform that can happen instantaneously?

What if disaffected Americans said, "Wait a minute, this system is broken, you guys broke it, I don't owe you an ounce of loyalty. Quite the contrary. You lost my loyalty when you sold out to special interests or when you placed a premium on your own reelection rather than serving the electorate. Now you have to win it back. Until then, I'm an Independent. I'm going to remake the system from the grassroots up."
Don't vote the party line. Don't buy the party line. Demand new ideas and vote for results not slogans.

I'll admit, it sounds too logical to ever happen. But we've reached such a crescendo of dysfunctionality abetted by each and every leader of both parties, that something's got to give and this is a place each of us could start right now.(And honestly, if you hate the way the system is currently running, doesn't that obligate you to try to change at least your little corner of it?)

The system is broken. And since I can't rely on the people in power to fix it, all I can do individually is to try to reclaim my little piece of that power structure. I can say: "I won't be defined by old labels. You don't have a call on my vote. Come and get it. Come and win it. And while you're at it, please note that real alternatives will be welcomed sooner rather than later."

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