Last week I had an interesting conversation with a gentleman who ran for Governor of a border state as an Independent candidate during the last election. Despite losing by a few thousand votes he was convinced that change is in the air.
I couldn't agree with him more. I think the timing is over-ripe for a second American revolution. Here's why:
* There is growing frustration and anger with the two party system. The budget deadlock this month was avoidable and everyone knows it.
* Increasingly, the two-party system fails to represent the voter's interests and caters to the partisan interests of Wall Street.
* Even the best intentions of public servants with a commitment to good representation of their constituencies are blocked by power dynamics in both houses.
* Fundamentalist politics, as witnessed by the rise of the Tea Party, has replaced public service and threatens to continue to logjam both houses as a means of swinging the public agenda hard right.
* Youthquake, the Arab Spring, and the fall of dictatorships has been accomplished on-line and in the street. What was once deemed impossible–the fall of tyrants in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya–was accomplished and has renewed the belief that the populace has enough power to overturn bad government. This is not lost on Americans.
* The blame-game by political parties has reached a level of stupidity and destructiveness that sober-minded people are fed up with. Instead of tuning it out , people are looking for ways to permanently change the channel.
* The on-line fund-raising breakthrough by President Obama in the last election has made a large financial dent in the party model. Now, independant candidates can campaign and fund-raise without being beholden to party machinery.
* Change at the federal level may take a little longer to make. But local, regional and state politics could change much faster than anyone anticipates. That could result in a rising tide of independant mayors and governors, beholden only to those that elected them.
It has never been a better time for people of vision and integrity to run for office outside the party system. As I said to my friend last week, perhaps the badge of honor in the next election will be neither Republican or Democrat.... it will be Independent.
© Patrick O’Neill 2011. All rights reserved.