The Two-Party System is Choking our Country

Posted: August 19th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | Comments Off on The Two-Party System is Choking our Country

Simpsons Two-Party System

The above cartoon, and the Simpsons episode is originates from, does a fantastic job of encapsulating why so many people are turned off by the election process; the Two-Party system guarantees you never really have a choice. What happens when you’re told to pick the lesser of two evils and you can’t really tell a difference between the two? What happens when you don’t see either as particularly “evil” so much as you find them both to be incredibly boring and you’re entirely disillusioned with the faux “choice” before you?

I typically steer clear of expressing my political view points because I know that mentioning at all can easily snowball, and I don’t want to be the guy that tries to push a view on you that I’m not 100% behind myself.

  • Tell you to be car-free/car-light? Sure
  • Talk about how great urbanism is and rail against the suburban “dream”? Absolutely
  • Try to shed a little light on some really cool art that some folks may still see as a crime? You bet.
  • Attempt to sway you to vote for a donkey or a packaderm?

  • What I do feel is a valid conversation topic for everyone is how dissatisfied we all should be with the current two-party system and our overall election process and how little choice we all really have in the scenario.

    I recall reading in Gladwell’s “Blink” about how Harry Truman was given the nomination by his party as part of a deal in one of the smoke-filled backrooms that we all know means somebody is up to no good. The story goes on that Truman wasn’t the best candidate, but he was the strongest, that is to say he was the one that looked the most like what people expect a President to look like, and in the end it seems they were right. Truman won, performed miserably as a President, and the machine rolled on.

    Of course, we tell ourselves that this doesn’t happen anymore, that we have media coverage of the primaries now, that technology has given us so much access that deals like this could never happen again. Indeed, every major news outlet is happy to cover the election cycle practically from the time the previous one ends. What they don’t do, however, is give us anything of substance that would inform the voter. For fear of being considered biased (here I’m excluding Fox News, clearly), we end up with news outlets that are basically the equivalent of TMZ for the white-collar crowd.

    I suppose my main issues with the present state of the Two-Party system can be broken down into a few areas

    The candidates don’t run on any platform/issues of their own.

    Major party candidates either echo the official party platform (at which point we should just admit we’re not voting for Obama or Romney, we’re voting for one mascot/logo over another), or they run on the genius angle of “Hey, I’m not THAT guy”, meaning the incumbent who they presume you’re disenfranchised with. Of the current batch, Paul Ryan is the only one that somewhat intrigues me because he’s the only guy who’s putting his name on a plan that’s more than one bullet point.

    The debates and interviews are always boring because nobody asks them any questions that require a real answer.

    Should a question prove tough to dodge, it doesn’t matter because the average voter either ignores the debates/interviews, or is already planning on voting based on religion/race/creed/party anyways, so it doesn’t really matter. Let’s be honest, we elected a President who didn’t know who several key foreign leaders were, and then followed that up by electing a guy who said in a debate that he would have to be in-office before he could decide how to handle certain rogue states. Man was I wrong when I thought President was the type of job you were qualified for before you interviewed for the position, not something you just showed up to and hoped to learn along the way. Clearly job qualifications are only for us plebs.

    Putting the fate of the free world in the hands of the Iowa Caucuses was an awful idead.

    Admittedly, my state is known more for tumbleweeds and Ansel Adams photos than it is for progressive political thought, but to watch every election cycle launch with the desires of a bunch of corn-monoculture farmers drives me banana sandwich. Everyone wants to vote for a winner, so we watch the candidates who win early primaries soar and see those who don’t play well a few fly-over states fall to the way-side. I say start with Super Tuesday, do them all on the same day, or figure something out that keeps the guys who decided to grow a crop laced with bio-engineered Round-Up from having this much sway in the decision making for our country.

    The growth of the religious party versus the intellectual party. As well as the expectations that ethnic groups have to belong to a given party.

    Sensationalism sells, and it gets votes. I get that. So what are we supposed to do when we don’t fit the mold of each party? Not “christian”, not anglo-saxon, not suburban? Don’t bother applying? When you’ve veered into inclusion based on the people you all likewise want to exclude, you’re supposed to expect that such thought patterns contribute directly to your own demise, right? The idea that should you agree on economic ideas means you’re also expected to agree on moral/social ideas is downright idiotic. Only “good christians” like to spend wisely and decrease entitlements while only non-secular voters are willing to suppose social programs and expansive government? I’d struggle to see anyone saying that outloud with any seriousness, but that’s the black-and-white we’re told to believe so that everyone can fit easily into one of two segments within the two-party system.

    Everyone can quote numbers, but nobody can quote solutions.

    So how about we try this on for size? I want to vote for someone who wants to tax responsibly and spend responsibly; whether that means raising taxes, cutting taxes, or flat-out rebooting the tax system, just get it right and prove it works so that this stops being an issue where intentionally vague rhetoric can continue to baffle those with less time/attention to the details. I want to see welfare reform hand-in-hand with overall spending reform and balanced-budget enforcement. I dislike how much I pay in taxes right now, but even more than that I loathe the idea that I’m paying this much and we’re still having to borrow from China and we’ve still got malnourished children and under-appreciated soldiers coming home from war without the resources we know they need.

    …but who’s the candidate that wants to accomplish this?

    Until that guy shows up I guess I’m stuck voting for either a party who hates “rich” people or a party who hates non-Protestants. Thanks for making me feel welcome, guys.

    P.S.: Anyone miss when I used to blog about zombies, memes & wolverine? I realized today I’m officially old when I’m writing about politics and I’m not “staging a rally in the quad” to go along with it.

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