“There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”
As if the social and political convictions of an entire nation could be divided into only two segments, so is the reality of the US political state. Though we were warned from the beginning of the trap that two parties would become, here we sit, tolerating that very thing.
The Republican and Democratic parties of the US are only divided on the fringes and the overlap is the political ground we all try to find ourselves in. If we are honest, most of us fit in neither category very neatly, less so the further right or left we drift. The political middle ground, the place we all agree, has become the battlefield for many opinions, split into two tidy parties.
How could it be possible to simplify our diversity as such?
The short answer is that it is not possible. Sure, the hotly contested middle ground carries many of our convictions –albeit with plenty of compromise. We as Americans have essentially been forced to choose from a pre-arranged set of moral and political choices that have been neatly arranged to satisfy most appetites.
What if none of the choices fit?
There may be a ray of hope for our political situation. No matter how far our government might overreach, we still possess the ability to make changes. The prospect of allowing for a third or fourth party seems daunting at this point, but the last time I checked, we still have a voice. The only thing holding us back are the number of voices required to force a change. There is no need for revolution in the sense of violence or chaos, only the practice of using our voices, in chorus, to affect this change.
What are the options?
Realistically, we only have a few valid choices as alternatives to the two party system. Here is a brief explanation of some of our options…
Libertarian: The essence of Libertarianism is personal liberty. This philosophy is attractive to many regular citizens since it essentially holds the government at bay while we carry on with our lives. There is an inherent danger to this philosophy in the higher ranks of government and especially in the corporate world though.It can be used as a means of getting the government to turn its back on unsavory business practices, also referred to as “Anarcho-capitalism”. As the name implies, Libertarianism finds its roots in Anarchism and without close supervision, the corporatocracy will take full advantage. Again, this is a good philosophy for the people but it would require oversight by the people. There are currently twelve candidates running as Libertarians in 2016.
Green: The Green party is primarily based upon six guiding principles. They are ecological wisdom, social justice, participatory democracy, nonviolence, sustainability and respect for diversity. It is considered a leftist philosophy, and despite being recognized as a legitimate political party in nearly 100 countries, it has yet to take hold as a force in American politics. 2016 presidential candidate, Jill Stein is running a campaign –if quietly- for the Green party this year.
Constitution: The Constitution party is just what it says; a party that strictly adheres to the constitution “as the forefathers intended it to be”. It is a decidedly right-wing party that holds traditional marriage as sacred and ‘right’ as well as being pro-life and that property ownership should be without government ‘burden’. There are currently three candidates from this party running in 2016.
There are many more parties than those I listed. It doesn’t take much research to find them and not much more to identify with one. No matter what happens going forward, it is important that we quit allowing our personal politics to be packaged like processed food and fed to us whether we like it or not. The two party system has crippled us as a country, threatened our democratic process and will continue to undermine the things we hold to be good and true. All it takes is getting involved.