It appears from the conversations and so on that I've had with people who attended the Democratic and Republican Party district conventions that some didn't feel very well respected. Been there, done that. Political parties by their natures are fairly incestuous and are not really looking for new ideas, but rather new ways to sell the ideas they already have.
Let's talk about you and me. Most people are not party joiners, though we tend to affiliate to one or the other of the D or R parties at least once every few years. Every election we are told is decided by the "middle." And for this reason I would argue it is this way because the middle doesn't have a party of our own; hence the other two prevail.
Anyone who has tried to join one of these parties soon comes to realize that it is hard to accomplish substantial movement. Why? Because the parties' hierarchy know what has worked for them and, frankly, both major parties are arch conservatives when it comes to moving away from their sacred cows.
So why not just join an established third party? Once again, the doctrine is drawn. As John Mellencamp, Malcolm X, and Alexander Hamilton all sort of said, "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything." All parties stand for something, but none stand for what most people think is right. Hence we are a nation of flip-floppers who go back and forth generally between D's and R's.
Early in our nation's heritage, choosing between two was quite a step up from Monarchy. However, I think that many people agree that neither party really represents what main street or the mainstream think. In fact each party claims to feel our pain, but in reality, they are counting up our votes.
So why not join the Tea Party? Well, who is the Tea Party and do they represent mainstream values? According to the Tea Part Patriots' website they stand for:
Fiscal Responsibility: Fiscal Responsibility by government honors and respects the freedom of the individual to spend the money that is the fruit of their own labor. A constitutionally limited government, designed to protect the blessings of liberty, must be fiscally responsible or it must subject its citizenry to high levels of taxation that unjustly restrict the liberty our Constitution was designed to protect. Such runaway deficit spending as we now see in Washington D.C. compels us to take action as the increasing national debt is a grave threat to our national sovereignty and the personal and economic liberty of future generations.
Constitutionally Limited Government: We, the members of The Tea Party Patriots, are inspired by our founding documents and regard the Constitution of the United States to be the supreme law of the land. We believe that it is possible to know the original intent of the government our founders set forth, and stand in support of that intent. Like the founders, we support states' rights for those powers not expressly stated in the Constitution. As the government is of the people, by the people and for the people, in all other matters we support the personal liberty of the individual, within the rule of law.
Free Markets: A free market is the economic consequence of personal liberty. The founders believed that personal and economic freedom were indivisible, as do we. Our current government's interference distorts the free market and inhibits the pursuit of individual and economic liberty. Therefore, we support a return to the free market principles on which this nation was founded and oppose government intervention into the operations of private business.
Up to point number three, I could get behind those principles. In fact, taken with point number two, we really can't have a free market. Why, because the Constitution tells us we need taxes and those taxes are haggled over by those whom we elect. A so-called free market can't exist as long as we ask people to pony up money to have a government do things for us.
So, no Tea Party for me, and I doubt for many folks who are happy to have trash pickups, clean water, aid to families with dependent children, social security, etc. Also for those who aren't willing to lose arms and legs working in uncontrolled manufacturing plants and don't pay a living wage.
So what would the Middle of the Road Party look like? Beats the heck out of me. We haven't had our convention, chosen our leaders, or created our platform. There is not a party and so the climb is long and the odds are against us.
If I were to venture a guess, the MOTR party would place the future of kids at the forefront. It would tend to be hopeful, but cautious in what this country does both here and abroad. It would insist that rules were enforced, but the rules were fair in the first place. It would be a party that celebrates pragmatism--where some change would come fast and others a little at a time. It would not seek to win by putting the other parties down, but to win by articulating the things that people believe are in the best interest of the country, even if they aren't always in the immediate best interest to themselves. Yes, it would uphold the Constitution. And, of course, it would be fiscally responsible.
I also believe it would be hard to build. It would ask people to disengage from the politics they understand to be how things are done and engage in conversations with people in a way that doesn't make me right and you wrong. It would put us in a whole new place. It would be a bold venture to be sure.