Tuesday, September 4, 2012


To me, growing up, it was self evident. America was so diverse, so wide ranging with so many people having come here from different lands and cultures (we are all immigrants... even the "Native" Americans!), and we had so many differing beliefs..about  social issues, ethics, morals, economics, and especially politics... why in the world would anyone expect this nation to have only two major political parties?
Then I went to college.
Both there and later in grad school my major was poli sci. The vast majority of my professors (some really good ones) held fast to the two party system. "The purpose of a party is to govern" was the mantra, whenever that party won an election. Many parties meant less chance for a majority to be formed for governing, for a "stable" administration, and more chances for chaos and disunity.
Certainly history provided my teachers with many examples. Especially the Italians, and often the Greeks where governments could last a few weeks because no parliamentary majority could be found among a half dozen or more parties. But Britain has had three parties for several generations, Germany and Israel and often France sustained viable governments for years with shifting majorities among multi-parties. This, too, is history.
So is this, and recent history, too:  I grew up with the "Solid South"---solidly Democratic.  LBJ and the '64 Civil Rights Act (long overdue) changed that. Before long the South was pretty solidly Republican (when it wasn't Dixiecrat or worse.). Many mountain states of the West also shifted traditional party allegiances.  
Politics is fluid---as people are changeable. And those many, many differences among Americans--a diversity which is often our strength--have led us to where we are right now..a two party system that can't govern, that has failed the American people, and which seems determined to perpetuate that system in Power. Each of the two tries to manipulate voting laws in states they dominate to help themselves, and put down the other party. See court cases in Texas last week (and probably soon in Ohio, Pa,, and N.C.) Remember the redistricting squabble in Frankfort the courts had to settle?  That's only temporary, by the way.
But Washington is my prime example. Henry Clay, Kentucky (and America's)  " Great Compromiser", would be tossed out of Mitch's Senate on his ear. (And when Nancy Pelosi was running the House, Republicans complained, correctly, there were times they were not allowd to even offer amendments. It was  her way or the highway).
Ron Paul's Libertarian Party deserves to be heard, deserves to be on the ballot in many states. So does the Tea Party. So does the Green Party (which is running a Presidential candidate in at least 20 states; had you heard about her?) And yes, the Flat Earth Party and the Gold Standard Party and the Vegatarians and the Prohibitionists should all have the right to be heard--because it is in the contest of "ideas" , of issues that we learn, and America advances.
Am I holding my breath that this will happen in this year's election? No, but..to coin a phrase.."let us begin." Begin by being willing to listen to others, evaluate their ideas, and then decide..not rule them out at once because they are advanced by a member of a group other than our own.
I hope more "independents" are elected this year, and Libertarians and Green party members, too.  The history of America is the history of small groups forming around an idea or issue and, if their idea was a good one, convincing the rest of us. We got only a few Prohibitions for every Child Labor Law and Eight Hour Days.
If the Democrats and Republicans want to stay in Power, paradoxically, they need to open up power..to new ideas, new people, and new parties. Their record, the record of just two parties in Washington recently is shameful..downright Un-American.
I'm just sayin'...

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