Break Down the Two-Party System
FL Today - August 24, 2012

For all the liberties afforded the American consumer in the information age, one remains scandalously absent: the freedom to choose our political leaders.

The current two-party system is an archaic construct, an exoskeleton of the Civil War––a scheme hatched during an era when the communication lag between Washington and the rest of the country necessitated voters be herded into well- defined sides.

No more.

In the Federalist papers, James Madison warned of "the mischiefs of faction… citizens united and actuated by some common impulse adversed to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community."

Sound familiar?

Today, over 99% of Congress marches lock-step with these well-heeled factions. They vote according to party affilitation, force unnatural stalemates, and stifle the government halls with group-think. Instead of a breadth of ideas, our leaders drift on the winds of corporate interests and re-election campaigns.

A more modern-day Republican, Rick Santorum, might have put Madison's concerns more succinctly. When questioned why he voted against his own principles on No Child Left Behind, he responded with this gem:

"You know politics is a team sport, folks."

If that's true, Congress is performing at all-star levels. Over the course of the season, they punched in along party lines over 93% of the time. That makes them more automatic than the NBA's top free throw shooter.

Why is this statistic sinister? For one thing, it tells us that the players are being coached. In such a system, a free and honest man in our capital might best be identified by how often he votes against his own party.

With the profusion of data instantly available online, why do we continue to limit ourselves to the binary option? What's keeping modern elections from being more diversely opinionated, more subtle?

It's easy enough to find out where individual candidates stand on issues important to us. Shouldn't there be an app for that?

Until American voters wake up to the possibilities, lobbyists and big dollar campaign contributors will continue to formulaically divide us, to constrict the populace to little red and blue boxes.

It's time to open up the lids, folks. To abandon the frat-party system. The beer has grown stale, as has the company.

Time to elect representatives who stand on their own lines. Players whose ideas aren't fed them by coaches, or, worse yet, by advertisers. With the global economic system in peril, we can no longer afford the hundred-million-dollar waste and pomp of SuperPACs and conventions.

It's time to hearken back to our last Independent President - George Washington. Time to rethink the system.

We need to stop complaining and do something about it. The Civil War has been over for a century and a half. Let's take our government back.

By the people, for the people.

It's time to re-declare, America.

Independents, every one.