Saturday, April 25, 2009

The first 535 people in the phonebook...

I don't know who coined the phrase, but I think it's a good time to reflect on an old adage that is apropos to the times and struggles we Americans face. The adage specifically was: "We'd be better served by the first 535 random names in the phonebook then we are by our current 535 members of Congress" (435 in the US House of Representatives and 100 in the US Senate).

More succinct words could not be applied to a vast majority of those we've elected to 'serve' us as representatives. To those of you who know me personally, you are acutely aware of my less-then-positive feelings for a majority of those who end up in Washington DC as well as our various state capitals. A good deal of these negative feelings are directly attributable to the flawed and undesirable two-party system that overwhelmingly ensures that are choices in the ballot booth are either a Democrat or a Republican. Far too many of my friends and acquaintance's wrongly assume that I fall into the latter camp because of my conservative leanings, both fiscally and socially; this is a mistake. Granted, I have overwhelmingly voted for Republicans since I was old enough to vote, however this was more by default then true choice in that more appealing independent-party candidates either weren't on the ballet or simply didn't have any substanitive chance of winning (or so I thought).

The fact is, conservatives aren't really served that well by the GOP and neither are liberals by the Democratic Party (if you doubt this, just consider for a moment how disappointed dedicated liberals and conservatives become months after 'their' person wins an election and quickly begins to backtrack on the promises they made while running).

Our Founding Fathers would be up in arms if they could come back and see what's happened to the Constitutional Republic they forged for us; and I have no doubt they would rail against the two-party system, seeing it as a form of tyranny. Why do we act so surprised when an Eliot Spitzer, Rod Blagojevich, or Randel Cunningham is exposed for the corrupt fraud they are? The truth is that the very nature of politics is such that it tends to attract the least principled, most narcissistic, egotistical cretans among us.

At least with the first 535 random names in the phonebook, we'd get a true cross-section of Americans. So regardless of your political leanings, I encourage you to consider the 'road less traveled' when it comes to voting and pull the lever for an independent third-party candidate and where confronted with only a choice between a Republican or a Democrat, choose none-of-the-above.


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