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September 11, 2004

DREADNOUGHT

“I am perturbed. On the one hand I am disappointed with Bush. I am angry that his handling of post-war Iraq has been so terrible…On the other, he is doing well in terms of my conservative values. On the family, faith-based initiatives and God generally, Bush is awesome.” From Dreadnought Manifest

I found this blog post to be very interesting. I think the author has captured the feelings of so many people today. We hate the Iraq situation but not enough to stand behind Kerry. Unfortunately, this is because of the polarization of the two parties. In this age of mass media, instant communication and flash animation, facts are quickly abandoned for feelings. I guess this has always been true but because information didn’t travel so fast, it was harder to flood the senses with images, ideas and half-truths…from both sides.

So now it comes down to which side are you. If you’re Republican, then you can’t agree with anything those Democrats do or say and if you’re Democrat, you can’t agree with those Republicans either. And it doesn’t matter if you’re independent, because the moment you agree with something the other side says, you’re labeled as one of them, even if you disagree with 90% of what they say. The parties become defined by what they are not rather than what they are.

But what’s the solution? I have an idea, it may not solve all the problems but it might help this one a little bit. We need a third political party. We can’t limit ourselves to either/or but rather need to establish another option. What will this accomplish? Primarily, if you have three parties, they can never be the opposite of each other. Right now we argue over straight vs. gay marriage, the environment vs. capitalism, family values vs. individual freedoms. They almost have to be opposed on every issue just to define who they are. Otherwise it’s like the old Ford days…you can have any color car you want, just as long as you want black.

I had a conversation with a good friend of mine a while back where we were discussing the meanings of the labels “conservative” and “liberal”. We defined these terms differently and so we meant different things when we said them. I saw liberals as trying to work for the greater good of mankind and conservatives as trying to rape and pillage this planet for their own personal gain. He saw conservatives as preserving Christian family values and liberals as trying to protect/promote dwelling in our sinful nature. In many ways, we were both right but we were limited to either/or. A third political camp could have given us a common ground in which to agree. “Yes, I agree with family values, but not at the expense of our natural resources” “Quite right, that’s why we’re both for Candidate #3” It’s a matter of combinations.

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