Monday, October 25, 2010

How Glenn Beck convinced me to leave the Republican Party

Yesterday, I was a Republican. Today, well, I’m still a Republican, but that’s only until I can re-register. Glenn Beck, the anathema of everybody and the very popular host on Fox News, convinced me to leave the Republican Party. If you’ve read this far, it probably means Glenn Beck wasn’t who you thought he was: just another crazy Republican. He’s not who you think he is, and his ideas aren’t as crazy as you think they are. He wrote a book called “Common Sense,” and is what it claims to be. Before you make another snipe at everyone at Fox News or call him crazy, read this book; see if it makes sense. Try to understand him and this position; it’s the Democratic thing to do. But even if you care only for Democrat/Republican power, this opinion is surging in popularity and it would be prudent, even for strategic reasons alone, to read it so you know how to fight it.

The great thing about being convinced through reason is you don’t have any hard feeling about it. In fact, you’re somewhat grateful to the convincer because your old ways were wrong and erroneous. This has happened to me many times, but it has happened acutely twice. The first time was in listening to Bill Clinton on a proposition for clean energy a few years ago. I wanted to see him speak (convinced that I would vote against the bill). After his speech, I had completely changed my mind. And I was happy I did it.

Today, a similar thing happened. Glenn Beck talked about the Corrupt Two Party System. I’ve often talked about the Corrupt Two Party System. You’ve often talked about the Corrupt Two Party System. It’s bad. Congress has 13% approval ratings, 95% of incumbents get reelected. There is a serious problem with this system! Beck asks why we are playing into it. He says we’re playing into it every time we vote against someone or some party. We’re not voting for leaders; we’re voting for colors. We ought to judge candidates not by the color of their party, but by the content of their character.

It is all a game. They’re both the same. They both want the government bigger and you more dependent on it. The vilification of the other side is a red herring. The issues which make blood boil (gay marriage, abortion) are making us hate each other and not see/notice/have time to care about the massive increases in debt and spending that are going on, the erosion of our rights and incomes in exchange for peace, safety and comfort. We owe $13 trillion (every one of us owes ~$43,000). We have another $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities (e.g. social security). We have a spending problem, and this problem is turning us and our children into the servants of our debtors.

Bush spent trillions on a war because it, “woulda’ been worse if we didn’t.” Obama spent trillions on a bailout because it, “woulda’ been worse if we didn’t.” This game has been going on for a century. One crisis to the next, there is always some urgent need for our money. And when that ran out, the crises didn’t. We started spending our children’s money. There always has to be a crisis for the system to survive. It reminds me of the need for perpetual war in Orwell’s 1984: “War is Peace.” But instead of wars with guns (we have some of those, too) the war is Red vs. Blue. “Sure my party lacks principles, but at least the right color is in power.”

Make politicians into public servants again. Give them term limits (some of our congress people have served longer than Fidel Castro). Fairly redistrict. Move tax day right before election day (ever notice how they’re as far apart on the calendar as can be?). Hold them equally accountable for the laws they pass (no get-out-of-jail-free cards for ‘errors’ on taxes).

All that to say: I’m independent. I want out of the Corrupt Two Party System. I’m returning to common sense and I’m voting for people who can balance a budget, red, blue or neither. I’ll start there. Once we’re out of the spending tailspin, we can start to talk about other issues. I want comfy incumbents, safe with campaign contributions and gerrymandered districts, to be afraid of We the People; I want unaffiliated candidates to be viable. And I will work to bring this about with my pen and my ballot. All the other issues which the parties talk about are important, but not if our country collapses under the weight of its own debt or if our freedom and livelihoods are corroded away, right by right, dollar by dollar, into nothing, by fear of class warfare/terrorism.

There is a way out of the Corrupt Two Party System: leave your party.

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