Partisanship is destroying our republic

by Dec 5, 2017Garland's Blog

It’s time to face the fact that our political system has become corrupt. When something is corrupt it has become unable to function according to its intended purpose. It’s time to fix it.

I am convinced that political partisanship is the purveyor of that corruption, and my indictment is on the system, not necessarily the individual office holders.

There is no provision in our U.S. Constitution explicitly establishing or protecting political parties, yet they are the nuclei around which the political process orbits.

They have become so pervasive an influential that we accept them as a matter of course. And the two major political parties have become so entrenched that they make all the rules that self-perpetuate the system, formally and informally, throughout all levels of government.

When loyalty to political party supersedes commitment to the general welfare of the United States, or to the individual states and communities, our days as a federal republic are numbered.

I am concerned that we are at the tipping point in which the dominant political party installs its autocrat and seeks methods to protect their grip on power. And their financial supporters are all too complicit, because it suits their economic interest that owe no allegiance to any sovereign other than their stockholders.

When our decisions are driven by labels instead of logic we enter into a vicious spiral of mistrust and dysfunction. For that reason, I hereby disavow any allegiance to any political party solely because of its label.

But if you demand a label, let me be called a ProgressiCon.

I am progressive in the sense that we all must seek opportunities to make our circumstances better for all. No citizen should be left behind through no fault of his or her own.

I am conservative in the sense that I support maximum individual liberty, with reasonable boundaries that prevent abuses of liberty. No one has the right to exercise their freedoms to misuse, abuse, harm, or defraud others in any way. One cannot redefine what is legal in order to make it right.

Three factors lay at the root of partisan divide: honest differences of opinion, massive egos, and wanton greed.

I have no issue with differences of opinion. That is, so long as they are informed differences. I allow anyone his or her opinion. But if they cannot support the basis for their opinion with valid factual information, their opinion is not credible. That’s why I must disavow loyalty to a political party. Both parties cherry pick facts and massage the truth for their own ends.

I have no use for outright lies, reinventing historically documented facts, or knowingly misrepresenting facts to create an alternative narrative. After all, doesn’t the Ten Commandments say, “Thou shalt not create an alternative narrative?

Some people are power hungry and seek political office for the position power it provides. Yet they have no personal power–no moral authority–because of their behavior, language, and self-aggrandizement.

Some people seek office because they understand the golden rule of political power: those that make the rules decide who gets the gold, and that those who have the gold usually get to make the rules. This, I believe is the number one corrupting influence in our political system–self-serving greed.

My solution

Rid the political system of partisan advantages that have crept in over time. Do these things:

  1. Make all elections at all levels of government non-partisan. Eliminate all partisan primaries. One is registered as a legal elector, and that’s enough.
  2. Elect the President and Vice President by popular vote.
  3. Create a public commission on federal elections that establishes a national primary process for identifying candidates for president and giving them national public forums to present their ideas and credentials. Voters will eliminate the unpersuasive candidates in one or two national primaries. For a semifinal round, the top vote-getting candidates will form into four tickets for President/Vice President. The top two tickets will face off in the final general election.
  4. Place congressional redistricting in the hands of a non-partisan commission that adjusts boundaries without regard to incumbency. Do the same at the state levels.
  5. Create a public fund for elections. All contributions to the fund, both private and corporate, are fully tax-deductible. Funds lose their contributor’s identity and are distributed equally among candidates. Individuals may contribute to individual candidates up to a legal amount per election. All donations are public. Issues committees may promote candidates they support, and all donors, private and corporate, are made public. The makeup of each political or issues organization must report the names of all organizers, officers, and paid staff. Total transparency!

We are at a fork in the road in our republic.

We can go down a road like the one we are now on where we citizens allow special interests and self-serving officials to divide us and get away with lying and creating alternative truths in the name of political partisanship.

Or we can choose the road on which we see through the lies and deception and reclaim a spirit of civility that allows differences without demonizing the different. We can choose the road where leaders of character and moral courage stand up to intimidation and bullying to assure liberty and justice for all.

Which ever road we choose will make all the difference.