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John Bruhns

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Why Voters Need A Third Party Option

Posted: 01/01/12 09:44 PM ET

I no longer write as a pissed off veteran of the Iraq war. Nowadays, I observe the political spectrum from a different perspective. I'm a citizen who raises a child and works for a living. However, that does not mean that I am unaware of the fact that our current political system has been on an ominous path for quite some time. Any person with a shred of situational awareness should be able to foresee an America, perhaps no more than a decade away that no longer looks like a modern freedom-loving and prosperous democracy. In fact, we as Americans began to lose those qualities some time ago. Unfortunately, both mainstream political parties have been hijacked by money, greed, and power-hungry career politicians who could care less whether or not this country falls off a cliff so long as their political viability is protected. On a daily basis, these political operatives, backed by corporate media hacks, successfully engage in a brainwashing campaign of lies and false dilemmas that lead the American people to believe that they have only two political choices to make.

One lie is that tax cuts, big business, nonexistence of government, eradication of collective bargaining, and global military conquests make America the land of the free and the home of the brave. The other lie is that America has become a nation that steals tax dollars from working people and redistributes the wealth to undeserving freeloaders, all while being soft on crime and perpetuating social welfare among the masses. These falsehoods, presented by both political parties against each other, have created and perpetuated an atmosphere that does not allow the average person or family to make an informed political decision that reflects the reality of his or her situation. As a result, the majority of Americans will vote to elect candidates that do not represent their political, social, and economic interests.

The American people shouldn't view capitalism as the enemy, nor should they shun welfare as socialism. Recently, the American people have been exposed to the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters who claim to represent 99% of the American people. While I applaud their efforts and mean them no disrespect, it is a bit naïve to view this conflict as a war of the one percenters vs. the ninety-nine percenters. In America, we have an upper class, a middle class, a lower class, and the destitute with other class flavors commingled in. However, somewhere in that mix, there has got to be some form of a consensus that allows us to be reasonable. If we as Americans are ever going to obtain a political system that works for the majority of the people of this country, it will take a total revamping of the partisan two-party political system that holds us hostage today.

Believe it or not, the people who decide elections are the independent voters (consisting primarily of rational human beings) who could butcher the policies of George W. Bush one day, then turn around and do the same to the policies of Barack Obama the next day. For some reason, when the political pendulum swings and a new party assumes a majority, the winning party views their victory as a mandate to go nuclear with a partisan agenda. They never seem to learn that it's not a partisan agenda that Americans desired when they voted in a new party. It is simply that the American voter was fed up with the policies of the previous party. The liberals and the conservatives will always have the support of their bases. However, they should never underestimate the willingness of the independent voter to punish those in power who go off the rails with radical political agendas that are not representative of the majority. The independent voting bloc is where focus groups should be directing the majority of their political analysis in the 2012 election.

For all my liberal friends who champion the Democrats as being the party of the people, I've got a news flash for them: they're not. The Democrats may tell you what you want to hear, but they won't follow through on most things that help the average American. Instead, they will simply blame Republican obstructionism. It is a good political tactic that allows them to falsely accuse Republicans for being the sole cause of America's current state of disarray. It is sad that their voting blocs buy into the lie. Sure, we know that, to an extent, the modern Republican party promotes a message very similar to Social Darwinism, but don't think the Democrats aren't sharing cocktails with them (pinky fingers in the air) as the deals go down. For example, despite all of their complaining, the Democrats were instrumental in perpetuating the Iraq war. Many Democrats voted with Republicans to continue the war in a bipartisan "love fest" that lasted almost a decade. The only difference was that the Democrats complained about voting to support legislation that continued the war. These types of fraudulent political tactics are not unique to the Democratic Party. The Republican Party does its fair share of falsely misrepresenting Democrats by leveling similar accusations that blame the Democrats for our current misfortunes. The mainstream media contributes to this juvenile nonsense in a very effective manner. The Democrats shotgun their false and inflammatory messages to the masses from MSNBC, while The Republicans do the exact same thing via Fox News.

While the false information is being proliferated through these media outlets, the Democrats in Congress can't caucus the progressives or Blue Dogs, while the mainstream Republicans in Congress can't caucus the Tea Party or the ultra-conservatives. These internal conflicts within both political parties take form in political showdown after showdown. This proves that America isn't a nation of people who have two absolutist views of the world. At the end of the day, despite party affiliation, America is a nation where most average people agree on rational political causes. The problem is that the "average" American doesn't have a place to hang his/her political hat.

There are many conservative people whose occupations consist of unionized labor. They appreciate their job protection provided by a union even though they are Republican. There are social conservatives who don't support the outsourcing of jobs by big corporations, costly overseas military operations, or tax cuts for the top earners. There are also many liberal people who recognize the importance of hard work, have an extremely low tolerance for crime, and realize that you can't and shouldn't help people who refuse to help themselves. It's foolish to believe that a conservative guy who spent his whole life working in manual labor to put his kids through school would support the falsely manufactured Republican mentality that "we're all cut out to be small business owners" or that tax cuts are what makes the world go 'round. It would be equally as foolish to believe that a liberal guy who spent his whole life working in manual labor to put his kids through school would support the falsely manufactured Democrat mentality that "government assistance is the be-all-end-all" or that their tax dollars should be perpetually directed toward social welfare or even more radical flavors of socialism. In fact, both working factions would likely agree on an honest day's pay for an honest day's work. Both sides would also agree on giving the unfortunate in society a chance at an honest living, but if the unfortunate squander the opportunity so be it, they'll be cut off. Instead, MSNBC (on behalf of the Democrats) and Fox News (on behalf of the Republicans) pit each side against the other. At the end of the day, the mainstream political parties, backed by their media allies, have created a war based on false dilemmas: tax cuts and global warfare vs. the socialistic/unionized welfare state. Americans desperately need to move beyond this destructive one-dimensional political view.

The main problem is that most Americans lack political options and are left only to vote for two candidates -- a Democrat or a Republican. These two political parties have monopolized America's political system for far too long. A political party (a realistic and viable third party) needs to be formed that will genuinely represent the families and working people who have been and remain the steel underpinnings of American society. Americans can no longer afford to be forced to choose between the lesser of two evil candidates who pit the private sector against the public sector, set the rich against the poor, and maintain a climate of political and social unrest. Most average Americans, despite party affiliation, agree on most things. These rational working people are comprised of public school teachers, truck drivers, warehouse workers, roofers, brick layers, construction workers, police officers, firefighters, sanitation workers, public librarians, and U.S. military personnel. They're not comprised of elite Wall Street executives or big money lobbyists who've bought and paid for deceptive politicians from both political parties who endlessly pander to miniscule portions of the electorate with no follow through. It is unequivocally time for a real change in American government.