It’s Not Easy Being Green

I’ve never been a fan of political parties. ¬†Representatives in a republic are already responsible to so many different groups: their constituents, their personal beliefs, the good of the country as a whole. Feeling beholden to yet another group that is responsible for their getting elected, distorts this sense of responsibility so that they end up focusing on pleasing the party first.

However, the main problem with political parties really is the way they are done here in the US. A two party system forces everyone into opposite camps. This magnifies the power of the parties such that the political process becomes all about beating the other side. This enhances the problems of political parties to the extreme.

In a system that had a much wider range of parties, the power of any individual party would be lower. It would be easier to find a party that more closely matches your view on things. And when a particular party won a seat in Congress, it would really be a reflection of the values of the people in the district.

For the most part I’ve called myself an independent though aligned myself mostly with the Democratic party. The Republic Party as it exists today stands for nothing I agree with. The Democrats, while not fully supporting all the issues I believe in, are at least closer. I’ve essentially fallen into the two party trap, support one party simply to keep the other one out of power.

I’ve recently taken a look at the platform of the Green Party and found that so far, I agree with most everything on there. I haven’t looked at in extreme depth yet but it’s definitely a closer match than anyone else. So far, it appears to be a group I would support running the government.

However, because of the way the party system works here, by supporting them, it means less support for the Democrats. I live in Texas, so it’s all ready a long shot that anyone other than a Republican (or in a few cases Libertarian) would ever get elected to any position. Democrats have little chance, something like the Green party have essentially zero.

That leaves me with a dilemma. Do I support the Greens (if I decide I do like their platform) because I agree with them, knowing full well they’ll never win? Or do I support a Democrat because their at least more reasonable than the Republicans?

Getting a third (fourth or fifth) party to gain significant weight in the government process would take a monumental effort. With the entrenched power of the main parties and the ruling elite, I’m not sure it’s even possible in this modern era without something akin to a revolution. Hell, Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate was arrested for trying to be allowed to participate in the last presidential debate.

They were excluded from the debate because Jill Stein needs to poll at 15%. But with the way media coverage of candidates works, along with campaign money, no third party is going to reach 15% because most people have never heard of them.

The Green party, for example, supports the Occupy Wall Street movement and they succeeded in changing the course of the national debate on taxes and brought attention to income disparity in this country. Of course, Occupy has been most ignored by the media now, even though they are still alive and well.

While it may be something that seems impossible and might takes years to see happen, wouldn’t the simple act of voting for someone other than the Democrats or Republicans be one of the first steps?

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2 Responses to It’s Not Easy Being Green

  1. Not voting for whomever you believe in is WHY we have a two-party system. People in the same quandary you’re in choose to vote for one of the two big parties because they know that if they vote their conscience, their vote is ultimately useless, which leads to the continuation of the two-party system.

    But here’s the thing: their vote isn’t useless, at all. If even half the people who want to vote for a 3rd party candidate actually did, the two majors would see their numbers drastically reduced, even though they’d likely still win. This reduction might spur even more people to vote the way they actually feel, and eventually lead to a true multi-party system, instead of the “in name only” system we have now.

    I’m not voting for either one of the big parties in November. If you believe in a 3rd party and vote for another, you’re perpetuating the self-fulfilling prophecy that your vote makes no difference.

    That’s just my $0.02. Your mileage may vary.

    • Wayne says:

      Exactly. It ends up coming down to making the choice for what you believe or taking the lesser of two evils. In this particular election, its difficult because I actually worry about the things the Republicans will do. While I’m not a real fan of the Democrats, I don’t think they’re going to make things worse. This is mitigated by my being in Texas, where a vote for a Democrat or a vote for a third party are equally as likely to affect the outcome. That’s why as long as I can find candidates that I like that aren’t one of the major ones, I’ll probably vote for them.