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The Third Party OptionPosted Sunday, October 12, 2008, at 5:18 PM
In November, the citizens of the United States elect a new president. The current mindset, reinforced by the media, is that there are only two viable political parties, Democrats and Republicans. However, there are always several third parties added to the mix.
Political third parties have made a major impact in the past.
The Liberty Party was formed in 1840 to abolish slavery. Although unsuccessful, they did exert influence leading to the abolition of slavery a couple of decades later.
The first war on drugs was against alcohol. In 1892, the Prohibition Party was formed in an attempt to eliminate alcoholic beverages from society. This policy was eventually adopted in 1920 and repealed in 1933. During prohibition, as with the current war on drugs, criminal activity skyrocketed to meet public demand.
Collectivism was a popular concept in 1900. The Socialist Party was introduced with a platform including child labor laws, unemployment compensation, a national Department of Education and a graduated income tax. Twenty-four years later, socialists created the Progressive Party seeking a takeover of large corporations and the railroads by the federal government. Eventually this coalition became supporters of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Teddy Roosevelt won 9 of 12 Republican primaries in 1912 but they gave the nomination to William Taft. So Roosevelt formed the Bull Moose Party and ran as a third party candidate. The Democrat Woodrow Wilson won.
In 1980, conservative Ronald Reagan opposed liberal Jimmy Carter. John Anderson, a disaffected Republican, ran as an independent on fiscal conservatism and social compassion, winning seven percent of the vote.
Ross Perot formed the Reform Party in 1992 and ran as an alternative to Bush #1 and Bill Clinton. His major issue was balancing the federal budget and opposition to free trade. He had impressive poll numbers early (20%) but soon faded after scoring high marks on the screwball-o-meter.
Third parties can make a difference. Here is a list of several alternatives to business as usual.
1) The Libertarian Party -- believe in less government and individual liberty. They want a free market economy, a voluntary retirement system, to end the war on drugs, and a hands-off foreign policy.
2) The Green Party -- proclaim to be environmentalists who believe in human rights, social justice and nonviolent resistance. They dislike corporate-dominated society and actively participate in political protests.
3) The Reform Party -- main issues are balancing the budget, trade restrictions, campaign reform, lobbying reform, congressional term limits and a new "paperless" tax system.
4) The Natural Law Party -- vow to bring smart people together to resolve problems and make contingency plans to prevent future problems. They call it a common sense approach. To some it sounds a bit vague.
5) The Constitution Party -- want to restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations, abolish congressional pensions and foreign aid, eliminate paper money (coins only), and phase out Social Security.
6) The American Party -- support Biblical and constitutional principles of life, liberty and property. Oppose global trade, gay rights and illegal immigration. Support school vouchers and the return of the Panama Canal.
I didn't include the Socialist Equality Party, the Socialist USA Party or the Socialist Worker's Party. If you yearn for wall-to-wall government confiscating and redistributing wealth, you can always vote for the Democrat.
I also didn't include the Anarchists who want zero government and unlimited freedom. If you yearn for wall-to-wall chaos, you can always move somewhere where there is no government, such as Neptune or Pluto.
Of course, many of these political parties won't be on most state ballots. Apparently those in power don't want the American people to have more than two alternatives -- they might do something rash, such as voting for a political philosophy they actually believe in rather than going along with the herd.
It's no secret that the two parties in control, Democrats and Republicans, have collaborated to drive this country into a $10 trillion national debt with no end in sight. Democrats want a large, all-encompassing government to manage society whereby the central bureaucratic apparatus redistributes the wealth and shepherds its subjects from cradle to the grave. The Republicans want a strong, powerful government to keep the global economy churning at full capacity and impose itself on the rest of the world as self-appointed global cops.
The Democrats offer us Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Obama is a charismatic young lawyer whose only real experience seems to be a couple of years as a community organizer in Chicago. He has the most liberal voting record in Congress and a costly, oppressive socialistic agenda of an expanded federal government. Biden is a 6-term senator who was caught cheating in law school.
The Republicans offer us John McCain and Sarah Palin. McCain is an honorable military man from a military family who graduated near the bottom of his class, 894 out of 899, at the U.S. Naval Academy and would continue our costly, mettlesome policy of being self-appointed global cops. Palin is a popular governor from the state of Alaska who shoots guns.
Those who want neither of these two costly, intrusive alternatives have other choices, one of which is to vote for the candidate of a third party that shares their preferred notion of the function of government. Or they can simply bang their head against the wall until the pain exceeds the mental anguish.
Choose wisely. The future you save may be your own.
Quote for the Day -- "A primary duty of every citizen is to defend their liberty against their government." Bret
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Bret Burquest is a former award-winning columnist for The News (2001-2007) and author of four novels. He has lived in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Kansas City, Memphis and the middle of the Arizona desert. After a life of blood, sweat and tears in big cities, he has finally found peace in northern Arkansas where he grows tomatoes, watches sunsets and occasionally shares the Secrets of the Universe (and beyond) with the rest of the world.