Voting in "the year of 'change'"

I don't know if you've heard yet, but there is an election this year. A Presidential election...in about 6 months. The 2 major parties have basically ralied behind their candidates. On the one side we have Barak Obama the Democrat who could well be the first man of color elected president, and who seems to talk about nothing else but "change" (in the abstract, whatever that means).

On the other side we have John McCain, who isn't exactly a "straight-laced" party man either; McCain has made a career out of maverick politics, crossing the aisle to sponsor bills with Democrats, and being a thorn in the side of Republican leadership in general. All of these are reasons I've sort of liked him for a while, and I suppose it says something about the national mood that these candidates are both so unique.

So I predict it is going to be an interesting election and presidency no matter what happens. I expect it will be another close election, but not quite so close as the last two. (I hate to pick a winner at this early stage since, according to studies by political scientists, most voters actually make up their mind in the two weeks prior to the elections so that, all the polls you hear each day on the cable news channels are basically meaningless, except that they help create an "atmosphere of expectation").

Gloria Deo is not going to endorse a particular candidate (though I will most probably vote), but I do want my readers to consider making a real vote for change: abandon the two major parties for a third party!

I've been arguing for years that this country needs 4 or 5 major parties if our system is to become healthier, but the Dems and the GOP are deeply entrenched as the unassailable establishment as if there were no other way that it could be (note who gets all the coverage, who gets invited to the debates, etc.). So if everyone really wants change, then this election year presents us with a moment of opportunity for REAL change, far more significant than anything Obama OR McCain could possibly represent.

Now if you are like the vast majority of Americans, you may not even know the names of the major '3rd party' candidates. So here are their websites:

Charles Baldwin - Constitution Party

Bob Barr - Libertarian Party

Cynthia McKinny - Green Party

Brian Moore - Socialist Party

Ralph Nader (running as Independent)

Gloria La Riva - Party for Socialism and Liberation (I think some of my seminary professors were in this one...?)

And also, at the moment of this posting, Ron Paul is still in the Republican race (and many college students would love to see him run as an independent - if somehow he were to fail to gain the Republican nomination).

While I'm somewhat disappointed that there are no 'Constitutional Monarchy' candidates on the ballot this time around (actually, I am serious), I would nevertheless love to see a great swelling of support for all of these parties. I hope you will all take a break from the endless repitition of 24-hour election coverage on cable, and seriously investigate these other options that you will most likely not hear about on cable. We can do better politically. We can get past the cliches that have held our attention for decades. We can inject radically new voices into a stale noise that passes itself off for "debate." (To borrow a line from Obama), Yes we can. Yes we can!



Blogger Andrew C. Thompson said...

In the past few years, I have come to believe in a 'lesser of two evils' voting strategy. I think anyone who thinks that the Democrat or Republican du jour is going to bring in the new age of peace & prosperity is deluding himself. Particularly if he's a Christian.

But that doesn't mean we can't take seriously the task of minimizing harm. It's far from idealistic, but in the end it may do more good for the church. That thought has always kept me from voting for one of the third party candidates. Of course, it may also suggest a certain cynicism on my part that isn't so good, either.

9:14 AM, June 21, 2008  
Blogger Daniel McLain Hixon said...

Hey Andrew. Thanks for the comment.
I've often thought exactly the same thing (if the election is very close in my state in November I might be doing so again), and I think the 2 party system itself reinforces this way of looking at things. "I may not be perfect, but you don't want THEM to get elected, do you?" So much of the motivation for political participation that I see (especially among the various political/religious organizations that send me emails) is based on fear of what might happen if the evil ______ party/candidate should win. That so many of us are working like this is, I think, exactly the point at which the system has failed. Imagine, on the other hand, if there were four or five live options instead of only 2, this would represent a major paradigm shift. We would have to pay attention to more than just who is worst for America. Isn't it funny that to even suggest that we might have more than 2 parties in play makes me sound like a wild idealist? I'm not even asking for a perfect party or platform. Just more of them. But even that seems perpetually out of reach.

7:58 AM, June 22, 2008  

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