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5/4/01

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and the TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE . . .

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All political parties die at last of swallowing their own lies.
 John Arbuthnot

The Meaning of Third Parties in America

Since the Nation was formed as a Republic, underlying principles of Democracy have been hailed as the bedrock expression of authority. The practice of one man, one vote; evolved into the basis of legitimacy, as the consent of the citizen was registered for their form of government. With the creation of political parties, the organization of public power was instituted. Parties became the repository for election seekers to gain office. They also developed into organizations where patronage was gained, policies could be influenced and access to political favors could be secured. The duopoly rivalry that emerged over the centuries, grew from the reality of being 'in or out' of power, more than deep seeded ideological principles. For in its bare raw brute reality, politics is about power. How you get it, what you do when you have it, and how you keep it.

For those who are motivated by causes and philosophy, the either or nature of the majority and the loyal opposition have been wanting. Ideas don't always trump self interest. When both parties fail to heed the call for reforms, the most committed or the naive, form competing parties. Seldom has a third party gained widespread office that is so necessary to implement the policies that are the fundamental reason why the new organization was created. Why is this? Certainly, it is not because the ideas for reform or change in direction of policies don't have merit. Quite to the contrary. Examples for Third Party platforms being integrated into the majors over time, are plentiful. So what is the motivation for establishing a new party?

Third Parties are forged out of frustration! If changes were deemed practical from within, the need to organize from without, would not be necessary. And if the political aspirant sought solely, access to the levers of influence; surely, the path would be through one of the major parties. But how does all this play with the electorate? Most citizens historically have desired to live peaceful lives with the least government intervention. But over the last century, the proper role between the individual and society has transformed into a relationship that our Founding Fathers would hardly recognize.

If elections are an expression of consent, why is turn out so low for Third Parties? And if discontent was heightened, why are there not more Third Parties? The answer lies in the election returns. The fact that a majority of eligible voters no long take part in the process speaks volumes of their support. The public is stating their choice loud and clear: "NONE of the ABOVE". This is the Third Party that wins the election. When the public deems that there is no 'real' difference between the two parties and that their self interests cannot be furthered with their vote, the electoral system breaks down. Yes, the public is frustrated; but they conclude that their vote will never, effectively, change the status quo among the choices that are available. Their lack of participation, should not be misread as satisfaction for the current condition.

The solution to implement meaningful reform is to defuse the political power that is presently concentrated within the ‘Tweedle-dumb and Tweedle Dee' parties. The notion that differences between them are based upon core principles, denies the unending descent into 'collectivism'. The edges have varied shapes, but the centers are formed from the same sponge.

The pace descends a little slower under Bush, but the slope is still downward. Education is on the road to Federal control, is but one example that the direction of government has not been reversed. In a two way race, Nader votes would win Florida and New Hampshire for Gore, with 296 electoral votes. Yes, Third Parties shape political realities! Not only have they played the role of spoiler, but they infuse intensity and passion into the debate. Compromise is the true art of politics. It is the natural order for decisions. And Third Party pressure demands that detours be taken, on the road that marches into the abyss.

If democratic principles are the rule for governance, what more clear voice do you need to hear than the majority who reserves their consent for the current drop of politicians? When the people, finally awaken from their long lethargy; they will conclude that shared power in the legislative process is their best chance for representation. The time is long overdue, that Third Parties become a permanent fixture to American Politics. Without competition, you are doomed to elite arrogance. For those who resign themselves to the lessor of two evils, you choose your own bondage. Resistance to tyrants is your duty. And voting for a Pat Buchanan, with limited odds of victory, has more honesty than casting a ballot against the one most hated.

This many not be marketable advice for a political consultant, but the election record has not exactly bestowed legitimacy to the process in a very long time. The choice is yours, isn't that what a vote is all about?

SARTRE - May 4, 2001

Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule - and both commonly succeed, and are right.

H.L. Mencken

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