Sunday, November 6, 2011

Independent Voter

The presidential election is a year away, and I’m already tired of it. The candidates might dwindle down to two, but the talking points aren’t likely to change in the coming months. Wouldn’t it be great if something disrupted the ad nauseum campaign cycle? I can’t help but think, why don’t Catholics form a third political party?

No political party as a monopoly on being God’s party. I like that Catholicism isn’t wedded to an American political party. I don’t want to hear politics from the pulpit. It’s gotten to the point that I think some churches are based on political beliefs instead of the other way around. But what if Catholics actually formed their own political party?

First off, I think the two-party system turns democracy into an “us-versus-them” fight where winning is more important than taking care of a country. George Washington warned against it, so I can’t be that un-American in this belief. That said, I’m always on the lookout for a viable third party that could reshape the political landscape, whether they tout my personal beliefs or not. I just want more options. The Tea Party was almost it, but then it just merged with the Republican Party and formed a more conservative Republican Party, making the landscape more extreme instead of more diverse.

Catholics tend to believe in things on both sides of the political spectrum. Depending on what they deem as most important, they fall into two voting groups: pro-life Republicans or social justice Democrats. Helping the unborn and helping the poor shouldn’t be oppositions. By being representatively unsatisfied by both the big parties, Catholics are perfectly positioned to take the issues into their hands and form a third party.

As I see it, this third party would be against both abortion and the death penalty. It would support taking care of the environment. It would be against gay marriage. It would promote capitalism but also support programs that would help the needy and unemployed. Even if it just attracted Catholics, it would create a large third party-voting block in the U.S. But I think lots of non-Catholic moderates would be attracted to it as well. As the left/right debates grow more and more extreme, those stuck in the middle with a mix of Republican and Democrat values need a place for their voices to be heard. I don’t know if it would offer any solutions to the problems government faces, but it would at least shake up the us-versus-them campaigns.

Sadly, I know it won’t happen. Next year at this time, I’ll cast my vote for whoever I think is the lesser of two evils. But I will vote, because that is my duty. I just wish I could enjoy it more.

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