Monday, October 02, 2006

"Breathing Room"

I've heard a lot of talk over the last year or so about the apparent lack of options between political parties. And I've heard a great deal of dissatisfaction over the current state of our government from moderates, Republicans, Democrats, you name it. By now, I'm sure you know where this is all heading--we need a new political party. I want to start a new party, the Realist Party, in an attempt to do what our current political leaders won't do and what our current political machines can't do. I think a good part of the problem with our party system derives from the fact that the framers of the Constitution never incorporated a party system into the document. I'm not hear to asses fault for that omission, it was well over two hundred years ago and we've had more than a few big events occur in the interim. The party machines we have now are the product of decades of campaigning and governing and however they originally started is not the issue, or at least not the whole issue.
So the methods by which we elect candiates is broken. Not that our votes are not counted (barring some notable cases) and it isn't as if who gets elected radically differs from what the continuing stream of polling numbers say (again, barring a few notable exceptions). What I mean when I say that our electorial system is broken is that the way candiates are chosen, presented and campaigned is broken. Too often we see only the candiates who can win and rarely the candiate who should win. And too often do we see candidates who selectively target a certain audience in their district to the disadvantage of everyone else, whether that is their electorial base or special interest groups.
But I recoil at the suggestion that we should legislate our ways out of this mess. Even discounting the pratical obstacles of forcing those who's political careers depend on the current electorial system to change it, I don't think this is necessarily a legislative problem. What I am suggesting is that if a genuine third party can rise up based on the idea of presenting candidates who should get elected, holding elected officials to a higher standard of intelligence and conduct, and limiting the amount of vitrol spilled by the punditry then we can repair the electorial machine. While all of this sounds very high minded I do believe it is not only possible, but greatly desired.
What such a party takes to exist, much like any party or any business for that matter, is a lot of hard work, committed people and money. The difference lies in the purpose behind these elements. It isn't that the means are wrong or even the ends are wrong. It's the intent that is wrong. The purpose of most political machines is to get people elected, naturally. You can't hope to change things as an elected official if you can't become an elected official. But when the sole purpose of a political machine is to get people elected then you see the depth of our problem.
So what we are left with is the dilemma of any third party--how can you attain a sufficient number of people in elected office to effect real change without becoming just as broken as the other two major parties? I'm willing to take suggestions.