Several people in my circle of friends and acquaintances (in my community and the blogosphere) have been telling me of how they have lost confidence in the traditional two-party system that has been in place, since the birth of our great nation. Mustang of Social Sense is one and here he shares some history of this system and poses the all-important question, about it. Give this a read, before you read any further. (Don't forget to come back.)
Think about what it would take to create a viable third party that is capable of representing the interests of normal people. These are people that seemingly are being reperesented, less and less, as days go on.
Think about the foundational principles that it would have to built on, to prevent it from going the way of Perot's Reform Party and others that preceded it. Because, unless those principles are based soundly on truth, logic, and common sense; any effort that is undertaken will seem like just another populist movement that will be nothing more than a tiny blip on the radar screen. One that came and went.
What are the principles?
Truth, honesty, and integrity for starters. I know it sounds cheesy, but these are things that are sorely missing in our system, today. Just look at the many government officials that are found to be cheating, lying, stealing, and who knows what else? Think about that and then, think about the ones that haven't been openly caught (at least with enough evidence to charge, convict, and remove). These are the people that keep getting elected and re-elected.
In Washington and all 50 state capital cities, there is a culture of self-interest unsurpassed by any other form of business entity (private or public). Greed, lust for power, and recognition are the driving forces behind this "it's all about me" value system. There are very few statesmen left in this system and those that have the ability to be such, are not willing to go through the garbage that government service always seems to offer, and attract. Those that are willing to go through that process, must endure the dirtiest of treatment by those that abuse the system. Statesmen (and stateswomen) are a dying breed and close to extinction. They are a distinct minority.
So, before you can build a third party based on this foundation, you must have the best of intentions, to begin with. You cannot be in it for the power or the money. Because if you do, you spend the greatest amount of your time, scheming and plotting just to keep that power, get that money, and then cover your tracks to keep from getting caught. You will get nothing else done.
This is where Ross Perot failed. It was all about him, under the guise of it being about the people. Oh, he said it was about the people, enough. I heard him too many times to count. But when things got rough, he took his ball and went home. He refused to help other candidates, like Jesse Ventura who ran under the RP (and won). He could not stand failure and because of this adverse quailty, he did not have the ability to understand that success and failure is not always immediately measurable.
The truth is, he cared very little about starting a movement or a party, he only wanted to settle a vendetta against the elder Bush. He did, and Clinton was elected.
He played on the apathy that many Americans were beginning to have, using them for signatures and numbers support. His motives were not pure, plain and simple. Anyone that would seek to make a serious go at a third party today, would need to recognize that this kind of motive is not welcome and not needed. This effort is not the thing that will yield instant rewards, therefore they must sacrifice their self-interest for the longer term goals.
The length, depth and breadth of this subject is big. So, I will attempt to cover some other aspects of what is needed to have a viable third party that will meet the needs of the people, in future posts. But for now, I will let you chew on these prerequisites.
What do you think? Can these principles ever work in this present system? Or am I fantanating again? (Fantanation: Cross between a fantasy and a hallucination.)