Opinion / Portfolio

Behold, the rare Inderepublicrat

The U.S. political system has gone bananas. Politicians are so concerned with getting themselves and their parties elected that they aren’t doing the right thing for our country. People have been talking about the problem for a long time, but no one has come up with a solution.

Until now.

We can get rid of the divisiveness between Democrats and Republicans if we get rid of the parties. Let’s go to a one-party system. I say we all register as Inderepublicrats.

Republicans are being obstructionist because they are so focused on defeating Obama. Democrats have been just as bad in other circumstances.

Look at the recent debt-ceiling crisis. Something needed to be done to prevent our country from defaulting on our loans, but the Republicans focused on how they could use the crisis to make Pres. Obama look weak.

They purposely let the problem drag on for weeks, even though they caused great concern among the countries and investor groups that lend money to the U.S. government. All that concern may well mean that the U.S. has to pay higher interest rates on its debt in the future.

That would be quite the irony: the Republicans claimed to want to cut government spending, but they may make the government spend more, while providing no additional benefit for citizens.

Recently, Pres. Obama sent out an email to supporters with the subject line, “Frustrated.” Obama asked for support for his plan to create jobs. But Republicans in congress don’t want jobs to be created before the elections in November 2012. The country craves jobs, but creating them would make the president look good. So Republicans don’t want to cooperate.

Right now, this congress is on track to be 
the least 
productive Congress ever.

The
 Republicans 
justify their
 actions 
by saying
 that Pres.
Obama is 
a disaster,
 and anything that helps remove him from office is justified. But the Republicans didn’t do such 
a great job the last time they 
held the presidency – anyone remember George Bush and his war in Iraq, the way he turned budget surpluses into deficits, the financial crisis that he left behind?

So I’m not willing to put blind faith in the Republicans. I say we put off the fight about who should be the next president. Let’s focus on what’s right for the country now.

The problem is that the political parties can’t and won’t do that. They exist to get people elected.

So parties won’t pass a law or do anything else
 if it provides even a tiny advantage for the opposition – even if the advantage is what’s right for the country.

The process 
for nominating presidential 
candidates makes 
the problem
 worse. At the 
moment, all
 the republican 
candidates for
president are 
trying to show just 
how conservative 
they are, so
 they compete to 
show how much 
they disdain 
government.
Democrats getting 
ready for next 
year’s elections 
are competing 
to show how 
democratic they 
are, so they argue
 that government is 
the solution to everything.

Once the primaries are over, all the candidates will try to sound more moderate so they can appeal to the majority of Americans who are not on the political fringe, but the damage will be done. Candidates will be stuck with many of the extreme positions they laid out in the primaries. They have been raising a lot of money based on those positions, and they can’t just walk away – especially if they ever want to raise money from those people again.

That’s why the solution is for everyone to be inderepublicrats. If the parties fade away, then no one has to show how republican or democratic they are.

We could still have the two (or more) most popular candidates run against each other in a general election, but they’d all be inderepublicrats, so no one would be arguing for one party over another. They’d just be arguing about who is best qualified for the position.

We need to stand up for what is right, not what our party is telling us to do. I’m not suggesting a one-party system like Fidel Castro has in Cuba, where one person dictates everything. I’m talking about a free-for-all where the best ideas and the best people win.

Ever heard the line “united we stand, divided we fall?” That’s what’s happening in American politics today: We’re divided, so we’re falling. We pick on our own president, making him seem weak at a time when we need him to be strong. Our inability to get anything done makes us the laughingstock of the world.

Sure, people will always 
have a difference of opinion, but if we’re so patriotic, why is it OK to always try to stymie and embarrass the leader of our country, the one who was elected by the people, for the people?

It’s actually really funny to watch the campaign trail for president. Except for Herman Cain, the republican candidates are seasoned politicians. However, all they do is denounce Obama’s policies, rarely offering a solution of their own.

Republicans often say they 
look to our Founding Fathers for advice. They might want to read George Washington’s warning 
that political factions that seek
 to obstruct the execution of laws may claim to be following popular demand, when in reality their goal is to take power from the people and place it in the hands of men who do not deserve it.

Everyone in Washington should read the letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Dickinson in 1801, in which he said: “The greatest good we can do our country is to heal its party divisions and make them one people.”

Jefferson 
alluded to the 
blind faith 
that develops 
within people
 of a certain 
party. People
 who register 
as either a 
democrat or 
a republican
 often refuse to
 consider the 
other side’s 
ideas. “The 
Democrats are
 evil socialists,” the Republicans might say. “The Republicans are looking out for the wealthy and want no government at all,” the Democrats might respond.

Politics have become like the Super Bowl, where there can be only one winner. In reality, all the contestants in politics should be working together so that all of us win.

The only real downside to a nation that works together is that Jon Stewart would have less material for “The Daily Show” – and I love Jon Stewart.

But the upside would be even greater. Divisive forces like Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann would have to get real jobs. And we’d stop obsessing over whether Sarah Palin will compete for the Republican presidential nomination, because there would be no Republican nomination, and she’d stand no chance in the debate about her qualifications – or lack thereof.

A nation of Inderepublicrats would focus on the good of all, not just the good of the party. So, as many of us get ready to vote for the first time in next year’s elections, let’s please not register as Republicans or Democrats. Let’s register as Independents, an affiliation that will have to 
do for now as long as the term “Inderepublicrat” isn’t yet official.

***

Originally appeared in The Granite Bay Gazette.

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