Sunday, June 25, 2006
The single biggest problem facing America today gravely undermines the viability of our once-great Democracy. This threat is posed by Republican voters who have lost their way. Their sense of purpose. The responsibility they have to themselves and to their fellow citizens. Their understanding of what it means to be a true American patriot. They've been brainwashed into putting party before country. Partisanship has become the new patriotism. Sadly, Republicans no longer vote for the most qualified candidates, or for those who best represent their self-interests. They vote purely along party lines, and the actual performance and overall record of an elected official has become secondary to his or her party affiliation. Worse, mob mentality has set in. Those who do not agree with the mob have had their reputations, characters, credibility and patriotism attacked and slandered. And when facing defeat, the mob has even resorted to blatant acts of election fraud. These are not signs of a healthy Democracy. If America is going to thrive and prosper, this type of thinking and behavior has to cease. That is why we should do away with our current party system and simply have candidates who run for office, seeking election on the merits of their positions and track-record, not on the basis of whether they are Republican or Democrat.
A great example of this alarming state of affairs is the presidency of George W. Bush, whose 5 1/2 years in office, by any reasonable historical comparisons and benchmarking, is a miserable failure. Whether the analysis is on domestic affairs; foreign policy; the economy; corruption and scandal; or the war in Iraq, Republican voters have been given a plethora of reasons to be more than angry at this president. By all accounts, they should have kicked him to the curb in '04. Instead, they awarded him 62-million votes, the most for any presidential candidate in U.S. history, and sent him back to the White House for another four years.
Judging from the current recent spate of polls, Republicans are indeed fed up. But if constitutionally Bush were able to run again in '08, these lemmings would again race to the polls and reward him with another victory. Just as they may likely do this November with House and Senate incumbents. And the odds are they'll do it again in '08 with whomever the GOP nominates for president. Bush and the GOP leadership have been given one too many free passes by party loyalists. When do these lemmings finally stand up scream, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore?" When do they race to the polls to send their angry message? The problem is, their party won't let them.
But just imagine an election system absent of parties. Where unethical, amoral operatives like Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman wielded no power. Where candidates start on a level playing field with no party advantages to hide behind or benefit from. Where questionable fundraising techniques are replaced with government-funded campaign financing for candidates who've met strict election requirements. A system where candidates would be forced to focus on positions and policy. Where their victories would occur only if these overall messages and platforms resonated with voters, who for the first time would actually vote on what's in their best interests, free from party distractions and pressures. No Democrats. No Republicans. Just individuals. Maybe then, and only then, would the red-state Kool-aid drinkers wake up from their party haze and start voting for the candidates best suited for the job, not those who spew the meaningless, diversionary and divisive rhetoric we have today.
I can dream, can't I?