Matthew's Foray into Blogging

Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Two Major Parties Are Just Alike

The two major political parties – the Republicans and the Democrats – are no different from one another. Members of both parties are looking out for their own interests, doing whatever is necessary to win elections and to remain in power. This generally means pandering to special interest groups. Regardless of which party is in office, we have corporate-controlled government. The politicians appeal to niches of voters that are not representative of the majority of Americans, and they take up issues that are not of great concern to most Americans. How many conservative Christians do you know? The percentage of the population that is homosexual is in the single digits, so there cannot be an epidemic of gay marriage that is threatening to send our country into a moral abyss. Abortion is a divisive subject, and it involves deep-seated, moral beliefs, but how directly does it affect most of us? When was the last time you, someone you knew, or someone you witnessed went out to burn a flag?

Surely there are issues that are of more pressing importance than the hot-button issues that the elected representatives use to ride into office. Areas such as energy, clean air and water, poverty, access to healthcare, civil rights, tax reform, pensions, employment, Congressional ethics, auto safety, and the tobacco industry, to list but a few, would seem to require greater attention from our government officials. Further, the positions the politicians take on these matters, and the resolutions they seek, should be in the best interest of the people. Unfortunately, the members of the major political parties take whichever position is most expedient for them, which is generally the position that their largest campaign contributors demand that they should take, not that which stands to benefit Americans most.

In a June 8, 2005 New York Times Magazine article, “10 Questions for . . .Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt,” a reader inquired of Messrs. Dubner and Levitt whether “there is a way to end the pernicious influence of ‘Big Money’ in our political campaigns.” Messrs. Dubner and Levitt answered that they “do not think Big Money is as pernicious as others do.” They stated that they demonstrated in their book, Freakonomics, that “campaign spending does not affect elections nearly as much as most people think.” I think the influence is there, and that it is significant enough.

Regardless of which party is in the White House or controls Congress, nothing that helps Americans is accomplished. Democrat and Republican administrations come and go, but our country remains dependent on oil, and foreign oil, at that, we seem forever to be embroiled in the Middle East, we continue to destroy our environment, millions of Americans continue to live in poverty and without access to healthcare, the drug war rages unabated, and so on.

Should a third-party, independent candidate come along, such as Ralph Nader, or, more recently, Kinky Friedman, the system has in place barriers to their entry. Further, I take issue with assertions that Nader was a spoiler and that he “stole” votes from the Democrats. I would argue that Nader did not “steal” these votes; rather, he provided a welcome alternative to the two indistinguishable major parties.

2 Comments:

  • Unfortunately, you're right. It's strange how it came to this, and how in Europe and other places there are dozens of viable parties. Someday it may change, but not soon. This is why in local elections I always vote for someone who isn't Republican or Democrat. It's fun!

    By Blogger Greg, at 4:31 PM, August 02, 2005  

  • But Christian conservatives are so cute when they are angry.

    By Blogger Thomas, at 12:11 AM, August 08, 2005  

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