In my years being involved in the political process, I believed that party membership had it's privileges. However today, I am convinced that while I can and will support individual candidates for public office, my days of valuing party membership are nearing their end. And this is why.
As any reader of this blog knows, I am a populist progressive. I believe that both parties are in dire need of embracing their grassroots and moving their agendas forward in a way that benefits people. As Paul Wellstone, the late FDL Senator from Minneaota said, "Politics isn't about big money or power games; it's about the improvement of people's lives." Clearly this is not the environment that we are in today.
I believe that the far Right has recognized this and it's Tea Party is a movement that feeds off the frustration that people have in mistrusting the government. Troubling is that the feeding of mistrust has burned from raw emotion and does not rely on much fact.
The far Left, on the other hand, is reeling in bitterness over helping to elect a President and Congress that may only slightly better than its predecessor on important issues. The left is not short on emotion either, but does value good information to make decisions from.
In following the debate on health care reform, it has become imminently clear that a world-class health care program for those without access will not happen and it is not because of demand or good information, it is because of ham-fisted politics. As long as those interests who fund campaigns and write legislation continue to hold sway, it does not matter which party is in power.
On this, the eve of Martin Luther King's birthday, I have a new dream. I dream of a multiparty democracy where no two parties can accomplish their will without collaboration from a third and/or fourth party. Said differently, it is in the national interest of this country to end our dependency on the two party system.
I have a dream that our children and grandchildren will support candidates from the Green Party and Socialist Party, as others support Natural Law or Libertarian candidates. I may not be there to see it with you, but I'd look forward to the seeds being sown in my lifetime.
I have a dream that a Green President will have to negotiate with a Republican/Libertarian majority House, and a Democratic/Socialist majority Senate.
My guess is it will create a challenging environment to get the People's business done, but I also believe that better legislation will come out of it. I also believe that people who have a genuine commitment to public service will step up and true progress can be made.
I look forward when the character of one's soul holds more sway than the letter on the person's voter's registration card. If we can arrive at a place where we can deal with our problems in ways that benefit people, we will be, in the word's of the spiritual, "Free at last, free at last..."