Friday, April 18, 2008

Rubber Meets Road

I have often been frustrated by the two party system. I've wondered more than once if it wouldn't make sense to start supporting third (or fourth or fifth) parties that represent my views better than the big 2. I would not hesitate to say that most people probably do not support either the Republican or Democratic party as they now stand. They seem to have become despots, telling us what we will believe and what we will support rather that serving what we believe and support. And winning is all they care about. Being top dog as it were.

I've stated before that most people support the candidate, not the party. And perhaps that is why the whole system seems so dysfunctional. It probably goes a long way toward explaining voter apathy. Why vote when you don't feel you can support either candidate? Perhaps to vote for the lesser of what you see as two evils? "Of two evils, choose neither."* is good advice, but seldom practiced in contemporary politics. Often our vote is a vote against, rather than for, something.

I'm very disappointed that the best qualified candidates in both parties have withdrawn. I'm disappointed overall with the way we select candidates, because the ones who win are not usually the best qualified or even the most likely to win. So how do we address and correct this? How do we make the parties more responsive to what we want? We are, after all, the People, the ones it is supposed to be all about.

I've recently come to see that the only way to change the death grip the party system has on the election process is to change the parties from the bottom up. Rather than going away disappointed when the best candidates don't become the nominees, we have to start changing the whole system. It won't come the way candidates promise. The only way to "change Washington" is to start at the bottom of the political system and build it anew. It is to look for candidates at the local and state level who represent your views and really support them. It is to support candidates for Congress that represent your views. It is to stop letting incumbent Representatives and Senators run unopposed because we think they cannot be defeated. It is to demand that they stop thinking they were elected kings and start thinking they were elected servants of the people.

Good men and women with servant hearts could make all the difference.

*Charles Haddon Spurgeon
(Cross posted to Dei)

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