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Why I’m an Independent

Many people ask me why I’m not running with one of the main political parties. They want me to be a Republican, a Democrat, or perhaps a Libertarian.

I am not. And answering this question is like working your way through a buffet. You might not like the taste of every morsel, but each is sufficient to satisfy your hunger. And you know this. You know this because every time you hear about something in politics, you can’t help but think about political parties. You wonder about private meetings and secret alliances. You know that every official who is a member of a party is being pressured by that party.

It’s happening in the news right now. The Democrats are pushing a couple of their own senators to get in line on spending bills. The Republicans are pushing their own members on the topic of the 2020 election. Federal elected officials don’t just represent voters, they represent their party. You know this.

You know that parties are a huge problem because bills have to be labeled “bipartisan.” We can’t assume they are a good idea. We have to be told that both parties are working together on these proposed laws.

You know that parties are a huge problem because research organizations have to be labeled “nonpartisan.” We can’t trust groups to do honest work without that extra adjective.

None other than George Washington thought that parties were such a terrible idea that he warned about them in his farewell address:

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

George Washington, 1796

Doesn’t that sound like what’s happening today? Each election cycle is the “alternate domination” of one party “sharpened by the spirit of revenge.” That many “seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual.” This is what Republicans and Democrats seem to do.

I’m an independent because I’m not looking for any of those things. I don’t want to dominate. I am not out for revenge. And I certainly don’t think we need to centralize more power in elected officials.

I’m an independent because we are all, in our hearts, independents. We were created as a nation of independents when we first broke away from England, and we’ve been coming up with independent ideas and new ways of thinking ever since.

And I get that a lot of people affiliate (or even register) with a political party, but that’s not what the polls say [1]. In fact at present there are more independent voters (44%) than there are Democrat (30%) or Republican (25%).

It’s no wonder we don’t feel represented.


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