Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Stardate 62310.51 - Political Parties

With the election nearing, I've been thinking about politics lately--especially political parties. Since neither the Republicans nor the Democrats completely match what I believe, I started doing some third party research and ran across this site. Who knew we had so many political parties? Looking through the list I found several that at first glance, seemed to match my views better than either of the two main parties:
I voted for Ross Perot (once) of the Reform Party, but Buchanan seized control of the organization in 2000 and it became too conservative for me. If there was ever an opportunity to establish a true, viable third party it was early in the history of the Reform Party but Ross squandered his political capitol by turning out to be a nut job.

I am a fan of environmentalism, and so the Green Party also appeals to me, although I'm pretty sure Ralph Nader lost the election for Gore and so we've ended up with this horrific 8-year period where the current administration continues to shred the constitution, run up huge deficits, and engage in an un-winnable war. And I'm about more than just environmentalism.

The Independence Party's mantra of "Socially Inclusive and Fiscally Responsible" is appealing, as they are pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-gun rights, and fiscally moderate. That pretty much sums up my beliefs. But they have been pretty limited to just Minnesota, and are not really national in scale.

The Libertarian Party also seems matches several of my beliefs. The Libertarians are neither left nor right, believing in total individual liberty (pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, and anti-gun control) and total economic freedom (anti-welfare, anti-income tax, and pro-free trade). They espouse a classical laissez faire ideology which, they argue, means "more freedom, less government and lower taxes." But they seem to always support the Republican candidates, and in doing so are picking (supposed) economic freedom over individual liberty.

I've been a fan of the Moderate Party for some time, but they only have a single candidate in Illinois and they don't really seem to be making any traction on a national level. But I like their platform, and I feel it comes the closest to matching my personal beliefs:

  • Government Spending and Taxes - Supports lowering federal spending and paying down the national debt without compromise to individuals, families, and seniors of American citizenship currently in need of Federal assistance. Supports a simplified tax code, including the Fair Tax or Flat Tax. Supports closing tax loopholes for corporations.
  • International Relations -Believes that the United States must return to its primary role as international peacekeeper. Believes that although the United States may disagree with other nations' politically and/or socially inhumane ideologies, where those nations have not directly threatened American security, we do not have the right to preemptory invasion. Believes that the United States must seek economic and diplomatic recourse in bringing corrupt and inhumane governments to justice before the world court, resorting to military recourse only in coalition with other nations in an action sanctioned by an international governing body.
  • Defense -Supports a strong national defense. The safety and security of the United States is of utmost importance, including securing our borders. Supports sensibility with regards to defense spending, including, but not limited to, the following:
    • Maintaining a balanced defense budget.
    • Auditing federal contracts as necessary to ensure proper billing.
    • Avoiding conflicts of interests in awarding government contracts.
  • Environment - Supports protection of our environment to ensure clean land, fresh air, and pure water for ourselves and for future generations. Opposes sprawl development by encouraging smart planning, livable neighborhoods, and historic preservation. Supports alternative sources of energy that can individually or collectively meet demand and are also environmentally responsible. Supports public transportation to lessen dependence on the automobile and improve the quality of our land, air, and water.
  • Religious Freedom - Supports the separation of church and state as the guiding principle that truly guarantees and enables religious liberty for all Americans.
  • Firearm Responsibility - Supports the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. Recognizes that any firearm ownership requires responsibility for the same. Supports the enforcement of those laws currently in existence that penalize citizens who use firearms in the commission of a crime. Believes:
    • That education in the proper and safe use of firearms is fundamental for all new and underage firearm owners. We therefore support legislation that encourages citizen education in firearm safety and use.
    • That both firearms dealers and gun owners have a responsibility to prevent firearms from getting into the hands of criminals. We therefore support legislation requiring background checks on all firearm purchases.
    • That firearms dealers and private individuals who distribute arms to those citizens deemed unfit for ownership because of prior felony conviction, declared mental incompetence, or deficiency in education on proper firearm safety and use, are in effect acting irresponsibly. We therefore support legislation penalizing those firearms dealers and private citizens who act in such an irresponsible manner.
    • That parents, as the primary role models and shaping forces in the lives of their minor children, are accountable for the actions of their minor children. We therefore support legislation that holds responsible any parent or guardian who allows their minor children illegal access to their firearms.
  • Women's Reproductive Rights -Supports a woman’s right to choose, but is hopeful that the decision to go forward with the termination of pregnancy would be made only under the most extreme circumstances such as rape or incest, or if the life of the mother is otherwise in danger. Does not support the termination of pregnancy in the third trimester except under circumstances in which the life of the mother is otherwise in danger. Supports the minimization of pregnancy terminations through education (to include birth control and abstinence) and through greater access to birth control.
  • Recognition of Unmarried Partners - Supports the creation of civil unions to provide economic and familial benefits to mutually consenting adult couples. Opposes any Constitutional Amendment which sacrifices legal recognition of the committed relationships of consenting adult couples on political, economic, or religious grounds. Although we understand that the federal government must at times, in the interest of the American people, pass legislation limiting our personal liberties, we feel this legislation should only be passed through laws and the government should never use the constitution of the United States to restrict personal liberties.
Too bad we're stuck with only 2 parties capable of actually winning a national, Presidental election, neither of whom represent me. How about you? If there really were more than 2 people who could win, would you stick with Republicans and Democrats or shop around?

"There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, it to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution."
—John Adams



Cheryl said...

I completely agree with you. I am really tired of both main parties. My views have hardly every matched more than about 60% with current lot of candidates out there.

I have also looked at a few of the parties you have listed and we seem to have the same views - who knew? I suspect alot of people agree with us. However, until there is some sort of campaign reform that eliminates the need for the money machine that is the Republican and Democratic Party - we will have to deal with it for awhile.

How do you feel about the state of healthcare? Insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies out of control?

Eclecticvibe said...

I disagree with your assessment that the Green Party is only about the environment. The Green Party platform is very progressive and represents many ideas from both the left and right. Greens are as much for grassroots, participatory democracy and decentralization as they are environmental issues. We just understand that from an ecological standpoint, everything is connected, and in a world of finite resources, there can only be finite looting.

CAPT_Sawyer said...

Cheryl - I think it is crazy that there is one price for the insurance companies and one much higher price for the "self insured". I think that while drug research is expensive, executive-level pay is very high and not linked to performance.

Eclecticvibe - Obviously, in a post of this length, I didn't go into tremendous detail on any party (other than presenting the Moderate platform). That is why I put up the links - so people can go check out the parties on their own.

Trailing Male said...

Hmm... where to start? Yes, I am not pleased with either party, but I am more displeased with the Republicans. Unfortunately I don't think any third party has a chance of getting off the ground without some serious funding, much as Ross Perot, and probably with a single person or small group of charismatic, intelligent leaders. In addition, it would take said third party years to get enough traction to get anywhere. The existing parties are all too eager to block efforts to "dilute" the vote with the competition.

As for healthcare, we need some serious work. Ultimately I don't think the market alone will ever cover everyone (not sufficient profit). We may need some form of universal coverage either provided by or aided by the federal government. My first preference: repeal the law that allows direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing. DTC budgets are huge and I am sick of hearing about all these vague ailments I could have. (Recent Opus strip on this topic was hilarious!)