By Jay Hershberger,
Published Sunday, July 20, 2008
The Democrats and the GOP have not given voters a substantive choice for president in November. Barack Obama trumpets “change.” John McCain trumpets “maverick.” Yet they both stand for the Beltway establishment, the status quo and the further centralization of power in the presidency.
Foreign policy? Both candidates promise that all options remain on the table regarding Iran, even nuclear weapons. Both pledge military action to defend Israel. They both support the widening of domestic intelligence surveillance. Both would maintain our unwelcome global empire and economic hegemony, which have exhausted the goodwill of the rest of the world.
Domestic policy? The candidates differ only by degree and emphasis. Both assume an increasingly large role for government in health care, education, retirement and the economy. Both candidates support subsidizing corporate America. Both candidates support the Federal Reserve’s control of the U.S. dollar, an abysmal track record by any measure. Both support taxpayer bailouts of investment banks, pension plans and even home mortgages. And both candidates assume that the Supreme Court should rule by judicial fiat. One politician recently observed that a vote for either candidate is a vote for the same person: McBama.
Are there alternatives? You can’t beat something with nothing. Conventional wisdom indicts third parties as a waste of time, money and votes, a never-never land of cranks, dissenters and true believers who squabble over uncompromising ideals and abstract theories.
Admittedly, third parties face daunting challenges from the media and government regulations. Yet this could change overnight if voters embraced both what the founders believed about the nature of government – they distrusted it – and what they envisioned a constitutional republic might look like. It would mean rejecting the assumptions dished out by the media and government, and asking tough questions.
Is individual economic and social liberty worth the effort required to achieve it? Am I willing to live according to the principles of freedom without forcing them upon my neighbors (including other countries)? If helping others less fortunate is a moral obligation, am I willing to share my prosperity with them, without requiring anyone else to do the same? Am I willing to live with the messiness that accompanies a free society, knowing that my own liberty and personal obligations remain secure? Would I be vigilant with my voice and vote to make certain that the government strictly adhere to the Constitution? Democrats and the GOP give lip service to constitutional freedom, but then act to destroy it law by law, agency by agency and bureaucrat by bureaucrat.
It is time for citizens to reject the status quo. The lesser of two evils is still evil. Vote for a return to constitutional liberty and freedom. Use reason, principle and conscience, and vote candidate by candidate, including those from third parties. If enough voters do this, change might occur.
In Robert Bolt’s play “A Man for All Seasons,” Sir Thomas More makes a statement that applies to the modern-day charge that third-party voting helps the other side: “When statesmen (voters) forsake their own private consciences for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos.”
The United States needs substantive change regarding its political governance. McBama and the Demopublicans (Republicrats?) will not bring it about. The status quo will remain until future historical circumstances force change upon us, and it may come in ways not anticipated or even desired. Why not embrace a change of one’s own choosing now, while there is still the freedom to voluntarily do so?
Hershberger is a classical pianist and teaches music at Concordia College. He raises vegetables on his hobby farm near Hitterdal, Minn.
The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead