What Independents Need to Do to Make Their Voices Heard in the 21st Century

Author: Perry Waag
Created: 05 April, 2016
Updated: 21 November, 2022
5 min read

Flawed Logic

I would like to believe that if Spock from Star Trek learned of our two-party system and how it functions, the first words out of his mouth would be, “how illogical.”  And if the good Dr. McCoy were to hear him say that, he would get angry and say “is that all you can say…how about ‘it’s damned illogical!!!’"

I have struggled for many years to understand the flawed logic of both parties.

On the Republican side, many claim to want small and limited government and to keep it out of peoples’ lives. Yet they want government to tell people what they can and can’t do with their bodies and in their bedrooms.

On the Democrat side, many have traditionally wanted government to be in the middle of solving every problem in society and the economy, EXCEPT when it comes to peoples’ bodies and in their bedrooms.

To me, it isn’t a question of “small” or “big,” but of “right-sized” government. Decide what problems you want government to take on, and then it gets sized accordingly to do the job properly.

If I have a 3/8” bolt that needs to be worked on, I wouldn’t keep it from getting worked on because I happen to stand on principle favoring 1/4” wrenches or 5/8” wrenches. I would use the “right-sized” wrench to fix the problem.  And I would make sure I paid for it in full too.


Open Minds

Recently, a friend posted on Facebook about how honored they were to be able to witness a group of newly sworn in citizens. Isn’t there something wrong with the very first question a new citizen has to face being, “okay, pick a side for your voter registration card—Republican or Democrat?

We live in the greatest country that ever existed in the history of humanity... why should we have to pick a side, and thereby prevent ourselves from considering 50% of the ideas on the political spectrum?

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Not all ideas on either side of the aisle are good ones, but isn’t it theoretically possible that good ideas can come from anywhere on the political spectrum? Isn’t it much wiser to be an independent and be able to pick and choose which ideas make the most sense to actually solve problems?

My favorite college professor said something that has stayed with me for over 20 years — “if you learn nothing else from college, learn how to keep an open mind and how to process information.

For me, the very best part of being an independent is that it means that my sole focus is on actually solving problems. By not being beholden to a party or an ideology, I’m able to keep an open mind, and consider all the possible opinions and positions, and make the best unbiased decision possible to actually solve a problem.

I’m not interested in “who started it,” retribution, obstruction, name calling, personal attacks, or playing political games. As we tell our kids when they are bickering, “I don’t care who started it, I’m ending it.”

One of the most lamentable things about divided government and the two-party system is that any politician -- but specifically presidents -- can give the most eloquent, well intentioned, uplifting, and sincere speeches they want... those from the other party will automatically tune them out, question their wisdom, motives, and worse their patriotism.


Already Divided, Might As Well Conquer

In my perfect world there would be no parties. I think the average person in today’s world is smart enough to understand the basics of just about any issue and does not need an overarching world view provided by a party to make things simpler or easier for them to decide who to vote for.

Unfortunately, as we know, once something is created in this world, it is very hard to get rid of it, and it definitely won’t go away without a fight.

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So how do we bring about the end of political parties? This may seem counterintuitive, but I believe we need a MAJOR third party in the middle of the political spectrum to represent the over 45% of the electorate that is middle of the road.

It used to be that each party was a big tent, with a liberal, moderate, and conservative branch, but no longer.  Nothing is more endangered in America today than 4 people—Moderate Republicans, Liberal Republicans, Moderate Democrats, and Conservative Democrats.

Yes, I am aware that there have been many other attempts at a third party before and that they have mostly failed or are irrelevant. I would argue that they have failed simply because they were too small and weren’t camped out at the middle of the political spectrum.

Imagine for a minute that we had 3 major parties, at every level of government from county commissions to state legislatures to Congress. Democrats representing the far left, Republicans representing the far right, and an independent party in the middle.

Both traditional parties would be free to drop any remaining pretenses of being a big tent and could focus on their extreme ideas (which, hey, you never know, something might come of them). But guess who the power brokers would be... yep, the solution-oriented independents in the middle.

Without us, neither side could get a majority of votes to pass anything. So instead of either of them leading, the Independent Party would control the agenda, and remember what I said the best part of being an independent is? Having no agenda other than getting things done and solving the problems before us.

When I go shopping, I am an “in and out,” surgical strike kind of shopper. That’s the mindset we independents need to take to politics and government.

Now, you may ask, “what is to keep the Dems and Reps from stalling and obstructing the independents agenda?” Good question. Remember, they are motivated by something different than independents. They want to keep their jobs and stay in Washington.

With independents in control, however, the agenda and political climate will no longer be one of “drag problems out as long as possible so we all keep our jobs.” It will be one of, ”the folks actually solving problems get to keep their jobs.”

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With that amazing change, it will be politically and socially unacceptable for Democrats or Republicans to try and sabotage getting problems solved, because then they will be viewed by their constituents as part of the problem and will be replaced by an independent the next election cycle who is focused on getting problems resolved.

Eventually, the attraction to registering as a Democrat or Republican will completely lose favor. At least that’s my hope!

Photo Credit: Joe Belanger / shutterstock.com

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