With the midterm elections only a few months away, we as Americans can expect to see the usual nonsense which accompanies the election season year after year – attack ads pointing fingers, political leaders dodging questions and issues and, of course, all of that red state / blue state speculation. As long serving Representatives and Senators return to their home states to face a largely bitter American public, we can expect to see many incumbents joining their constituents in the unemployment line this November. Voters on both sides of the political spectrum are disenfranchised with the status quo bureaucracy of Washington, and neither Republicans nor Democrats have a solid platform from which to campaign. That is why I have proudly registered myself as an Independent voter, and remain convinced that the key to fixing our broken Washington system comes from the American public depolarizing and voting from a neutral, unpartisan perspective.
Being an Independent means just that – independent from commitment to two parties that quite frankly have failed in their obligation and duty to the public they serve. I grew up in a home with a liberal mother and a Fox News father, and I’ve smelled something rotten cooking from both parties for quite some time.
Republicans are desperate for leadership and direction as hard-core conservatives and the religious right take aim at the so called “progressive agenda” of tax and spend. And on the left, many serving under the Democratic Party are now distancing themselves from the current administration (just as Republicans did when President Bush’s numbers began to plummet), not wanting to be seen as aligned or involved with Obama’s deficit spending.
Independent voters have the blessing of neutrality. We do not owe our allegiance to anyone but the American people, and in an election of such importance there can be no higher authority than the voting public. When someone enters the polling station as a Democrat or Republican, it is much more difficult to vote for “the other guy” and break party lines than to check “straight Democrat” or “straight Republican”. Even though voting is a private and intimate thing, we have been conditioned to believe that voting is a black and white issue; we’re right and they’re wrong.
Being a member of a political party, a voter is swarmed with political propaganda and attack ads, which we are more inclined to accept without question from our own party (after all, why would our politicians lie to us?). Independence gives the voter clarity from all of the finger pointing and name calling which has started to characterize American politics. Once I took myself out of the circus act and stepped back, I was able to see all of the tricks and illusions which help keep Americans’ attention on the center ring, as opposed to the behind-the-scenes mechanics of the political parties. And I think it is safe to say that behind the scenes is where the real show is in politics.
People ask me whether I mind not voting in the primary elections, since as an Independent in Pennsylvania I am not graced with the right to vote in primaries. Put bluntly, I say “no”. I do not mind missing primary elections because ultimately my choices will be the same when the big elections come in November – “Do I vote for the joker on the left or the joker on the right?” Until a major party candidate comes along and truly blows me away to the point where I am compelled to support them and their party, I will remain firmly on the fence between left wing loonies and right wing radicals. After all, it is usually the middle of the road voters like me who get the most attention in the end. I think that for the time being, I’ll let the bureaucrats play tug of war over me and keep my independence as an Independent.
Charlie Brenner is a student at West Chester University. He can be reached at CB679085@wcupa.edu.