I’ve been thinking, I know it’s a rare thing–not that I’ve been thinking so much as that I’m telling you about it. Honestly most of the stuff I’ve been thinking about is boring to just about everyone but the people I work with. Yeah, work’s been keeping me busy.
Anyway so I’ve been thinking.
I’ve stated previously that I am anti-antagonists. That is I am firmly against people who take a stance on a subject as anti-. I suppose I should rephrase that and say I am supportive of people who chose to take a stance supporting an issue, whichever side of the issue they support. Nah, that’s too unclear and doesn’t sufficiently describe my ire towards people who take a negative stance. Ok so that’s a little like supporting pacifism by killing all the non-pacifists. Oh, well.
I’m going to talk politics, so if politics are a turn-off for you, go read the comics page. (But avoid Doonesbury, Foxtrot, Bloom County and pretty much every other comic since they all seem to have a political slant…) Okay, go read Dr. Seuss…er..never mind. Go put your head in the sand, since everything these days seems to be on one side or the other of some political issue.
That’s actually backwards. Politicians are so desperate to distinguish themselves from their ‘esteemed opponent’ that they are drawing lines and taking sides of issues that really should not be political. It’s just a matter of time before one political party supports chocolate and the other vanilla. Of course, when that comes to pass, the stances will be anti-vanilla and anti-chocolate, at least in the way they discuss it. Politicians have lost the ability to sell the positives of their stances and have instead resorted to extolling the negatives of the opposing opinion. Unfortunately this works because people are stupid and see things in black and white. If one view is wrong, the other presented view must be right, right? Wrong. Really damned wrong. For every subject the possibilities are limited only by our imaginations. It’s not even a straight line of varying shades of gray. There is a whole three (or more) dimensional spectrum of ways to see and resolve any issue.
This kind of explains why politicians attack the opponents view. It’s simpler to show one specific stance is lacking than to show how another stance is water-tight. Every solution to all but the simplest problem has shortcomings and cannot cover all possibilities.
Politicians want us to see the world in black and white. Specifically they all want us to see the opponents stance as dark and their own as the light. This is obvious in the simple fact that people are categorized as either Democrat or Republican. (I know there are independents and various third parties, but bear with me.)
Notice I said “OR”.
And there’s the problem.
We are forced to classify ourselves as one or the other. Why can’t we be both. Sure Independents can swing their support either way, but Independents are silenced for the first part of every political season. I’m asking, why can’t a person associate their self with both? Very few people believe whole-heartedly in every stance of the official party platform. At least very few thinking people do. There are plenty of drones out there that think as their political party tells them to think.
We are set up, as American voters to choose one side as our opponent. We cannot simply choose a side as the one we support more than the other. We have to support one to the exclusion of the other.
Lets take a hypothetical situation where the incumbent is not running. Both parties have a dozen candidates running in the primaries. Why do I, as a registered supporter of party A have to sit back and let the people registered for party B choose the candidate they like best? I’d like a voice there. I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket early on. I want to be able to choose the best from both parties so that if the Party A candidate loses in the main election, at least the winning candidate from party B has a decent chance of not being, in my opinion, a douche.
The way our political system (and every other political system in the world) is set up is that we have to choose which party or parties we are against. We do this by selecting one and only one that we are for. Independents are anti-every party. I am a member of an intelligent species. I can decide to see issues as more than binary. Sometimes I want to support a member of party B because his stances on the issues are more in line with my beliefs than the candidate from my party. And I want to be able to support them early enough to make a difference.
I want the opportunity to be part of a demographic whose opinion has the potential to sway the opinions of everyone, not just a maximum of 43-45% of registered voters. I want all politicians to have to take into account everyone’s opinions, not just the opinions of their political party. I don’t want politicians to be forced to paint themselves into the template of the party ideals–it’s not just painting but molding. And everyone is aware that when we force clay into a mold, we tend to have extra squeezing off the sides that we have to cut off. This means that every politician is a little bit less of a person because they allow themselves, even force themselves, into the mold of their party.
While not every state disenfranchises independents in the primaries, The current common model of the primaries only being accessible to party members feeds the practice of extremist politics. Politicians have to pander to the party line. This tends to result in extreme examples of the party making it to the main election. Moderate candidates and those candidates who take varying stances on the issues almost never make it to the November elections. This means that people like me, who don’t support every stance of my chosen political party will always have to settle for the lesser of two evils.
Our system does just that–it creates a rivalry between evils. Remove the requirement to define ourselves as one side or the other, allow us to be a little of this and a little of that, and we will become a more intelligent population.
Then again, some candidates, if not all, would have a harder time being elected if the population got smarter.