26 August 2020 #BetweenTheLinesDotVote Analysis Our 5 Questions + Why? Part of 5 How do you identify: D, I, or R? As a right-leaning Independent, I have grown to appreciate our 2-party system of late, greatly. Let me share my reasoning.
2) I believe it was @shestokas who first explained to me that, if you a multiple party system, you end with an essentially parliamentary structure, where coalitions are required to rule. These coalitions are inherently unstable and our founders purposefully avoided them.
3) So formally, we are a bicameral, Democratic Republic. Two Houses in our Congress, run by democratically elected majorities, but under strict republican structures designed to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. In some senses our names are unfortunate.
4) That we have Democratic and Republican Parties, when we are a democracy and a republic, is inherently confusing. When writing about these things, you have to ever be on your guard to establish whether you're talking about a party or the structure of our government.
5) How do I identify? I am registered as an Independent, but I struggle with whether that's true or not. I have never liked political parties, themselves, and for all my previous left leaning, I never did register as a Democrat, and never voted, at all.
6) My most natural leaning is just as a radical of one form or another. I never joined the Democratic Party, mostly because it was NOT radical enough for me. Not that I ever studied it properly, but I really was a Socialist, and back then there was no natural fit for me anywhere.
7) It's amazing to contemplate. From 1980 - 1999, as a natural radical, and as a weakly believing socialist, I can assure you, there was no place for me in the Democratic Party. Isn't that something?
8) So let's see, you've got Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Bill Clinton, and then Al Gore as our top Democratic leaders during that time. Funny, I often forget how Al Gore having invented the Internet soured me not just on him, but on a party that would have him as leader.
9) While each of them, most especially Gore, were influenced by the radical left, none of them were brazen socialists like Bernie, today. Nowhere near it. I think the best term for what America actually needs is a Center-left Party, to oppose a Center-right Party.
10) As I have shared, once I lost my socialism, and had no attraction to Democrats anymore, I very slowly found my way to the radical right. For a time, I was an almost happy Libertarian. I was unhappy because my passion for rights faced constant destruction of rights.
11) During that period, though, I enjoyed the pleasure of knowing where I stood on every topic. It was a universal political philosophy, far outside mainstream America, and that was just fine by me. I hunted for answers to getting rid of taxes. I detest(ed) taxes.
12) My radicalism dies hard. I still hate taxes. But I enforce my newfound memborhood in the Center-Right world to shut myself up on topic. And, if you can give me a LOWER tax as opposed to a HIGHER one, I'm all in, now. My ideals remain Libertarian. My reals lean to the center.
13) It should be easy to see that "identifying" is not a simple thing for me. Watching the RNC this week on TV, I am attacking myself once again for not surrendering to the Republican Party and stop this charade of Independence. I am older now. Perhaps I should surrender.
14) So that's my story. If you were to want to know me, personally, and civically, you'd really want to know what I shared above. We can be allies or enemies and not know much about how we identify, or why. But, we cannot be real friends, bonded for a mission without knowing.
15) When it comes to reaching across the aisle, there is no more important conversation to build. Why are you a Democrat, one asks? Why aren't you a Democrat, one rejoins? Back and forth the lively conversation must roll.
16) If you get your timing right, you can see every once in a while that a perfect stranger is paying attention to something political. You'll be surprised that if you can make eye contact, smile a bit, lean in just a little, you can then ask: How do you identify politically?
17) They might be reading a newspaper, watching a TV somewhere, or just hanging out on their phone or tablet, but there are always openings, moments when a stranger with good timing can enter in and begin to build a friendship. Respect and caring are the keys.
18) You know, friendships don't have to last forever. You can be friends for five minutes one day, and that's it. Micro-friendships can leave lasting impacts, memories that come back disproportionately. When they're both positive and surprising, all the more so.
19) Returning to my radical youth a trigger word was "patriotism." I rejected that word and was happy to tell anyone why. I was doing just that one day in Berkeley at a bookstore with one of my 5-minute friends, when he shocked me. He said I reminded him of Newt Gingrich.
20) @KateScopelliti was there, and chimed in with that flashing smile of hers, "I've said that to myself countless times, but never had the courage to tell him!" It was impossible to take offense, but I can't tell you how truly shocked I was. That was outside my identity.
21) Today, that question is what I consider the ultimate uniter of our political center. I believe there are patriotic Ds, Is, & Rs. I believe that that patriotism is what brings America together as a single people. Like me in the past, many souls reject it. That's okay.
22) Another argument that @shestokas tramped me over was the evil of the 3/5ths Clause in our Constitution, and the clear evil that slavery represented. Dave taught me that the Declaration of Independence won out in the end. It took a great war, but we rid ourselves of slavery.
23) It's that impossible phrase to overcome that he hit me with. We are NOT a perfect union. We seek ever to become MORE perfect than we were or are. It is that story, the trajectory of improving toward that more perfect union, which is how we must all identify.
24) What today's radical left misses is just that. They miss the vast center of America that is proud of the fact that we abolished slavery, gave women the franchise, enacted Civil Liberties Laws, and elected a Black President. That trajectory is our story as a people.
25) An election is not merely about this present moment. It must face the past while fighting for the future. That common sense America is the one to identify with. And in that America anyone can talk about why he stands where he does in the great American story. Go ahead. Ask!
Thread ends at #25. Be sure to head over to our poll and bring as many people there as you can!