I Want to Create Positive Politics
If politics and kindness can coexist, I want to be the one who makes it happen.
Before every presidential election year, there grows inside of me a slow burning sense of dread. “Do I have to listen to the debates again? Do I have to watch the two sides tear each other apart for the next twelve months? Do I have to choose the lesser of two evils?”
Is this what democracy has been reduced to…dread, misery, and a list of have-to’s?
Like many Americans, After the 2020 election I turned off all media for several months and began recuperating from what I call P.T.E.Y.D…Post Traumatic Election Year Disorder. For me this is not only brought on by exhaustion from the previous election, but also from the dread of knowing it’s all going to happen again in four years and that there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it.
The iron-fisted duopoly of the DNC and the RNC is overwhelming and a powerful reminder that “we the people” have almost no say in what goes on in our own parties. I’m one of the few people I know who occasionally attends local caucuses and studies up on candidates and issues. But let’s be honest, between work, kids, Covid, bills, and maybe an occasional vacation, who has time? In an age where technology is supposed to make things more convenient, why is politics the one thing we still have no time for despite knowing how important it is? My answer: Because even if we dedicate every waking moment to it, we know the powers that be (on both sides) limit our involvement and ignore our concerns.
If you’re like me, at some point someone has told you, “Oh no…we can’t have a third party because that will split ‘us’ and cause ‘them’ to win by default.”
The only reason I believed that to be true is because my mental vision of a 3rd party only involved others from my party splitting away. It wasn’t until after the 2020 elections that it occurred to me that maybe…just maybe, I might have more in common with the moderates from the other party than I do with the radicals in my own. If that’s the case, and if “our” moderates joined with “their” moderates, together we’d form a 3rd party juggernaut that could easily defeat both of the current parties.
Suddenly I was struck by the obvious…That’s why they don’t want a 3rd party! The radicals on both sides know that if the moderates joined together to create civil conversations about the issues, and to run civilized campaigns, they’d be helpless to stop us!
Holy hell ! Why didn’t that occur to me sooner? How could I have been so blind?
This has created a dream in me that I hope Dr. King would be proud of. I call it POSITIVE POLITICS, and NO, that’s not an oxymoron. My dream for all future presidential elections involves the following:
STEP ONE: Ignore those from both parties who say “It has to stay the way it’s always been”.
This is probably the hardest step because I have family members from my own party who have already expressed disdain over this idea. I’ve always thought of myself as a tough female who doesn’t let other opinions influence my decisions. However, I have to admit, in this case, it’s difficult. There’s a sense of betrayal that comes with these new ideas. Therefore, I must strengthen my resolve and not let the criticism and the guilt slow down my momentum to reach this goal. I also have friends from the other party who refuse to talk to me about the idea and others still who’ve cut off our friendship entirely despite my attempts at reassuring them that I only want to create peace. I know now that I can’t control their words and actions, and so I will press on.
STEP TWO: Find others who share this dream with me.
It’s taken many months and hundreds of web searches, but I’m finally making headway. Groups like Unite America, Bridge USA, The Forward Party, Braver Angels, and many MANY more are making progress in bigger ways than I had yet to imagine. I’m joining these groups to find ways to break the stranglehold of the two parties in power and the media outlets that support them. I’m also working daily to absorb as much information as possible, participate in as many conversations as possible, and be as open minded as possible when conversing with these new people. It’s the first time in a very long time that I’ve ended political conversations with a feeling of hope and positivity. When was the last time you were able to do that?
STEP THREE: Don’t be afraid to think big…W-A-Y outside the box!
For me that meant two big ideas.
First, a 3rd party platform must have less to do with where someone stands on each issue, and more with their willingness to negotiate and compromise. Saying that you have to believe this for one issue, and that for another issue in order to belong to our party seems pointless and silly. Instead you should have to answer these two questions: 1. Are you willing to negotiate, compromise, find common ground, and then move on to the next issue? 2. Are you willing to NOT smear those who disagree with you in the media? If you DO find yourself tempted to do this, see question #1.
Next, what if we not only created a 3rd party, but a whole new format for nominating candidates to represent that party? Currently, anyone interested in running for president must fill out forms, collect signatures, pay a fee, and then BOOM…they’re a candidate. What if everyone in a state could get together at the VERY BEGINNING OF THE PROCESS (which is almost impossible currently) and were allowed to sort through the people who wanted to run in their state, and together choose the one, strongest candidate for their state? If every state did this, there’d be fifty strong candidates who’ve already been vetted by the people in their state before the nomination process would begin nationally.
After that, we could create a system through social media or network TV that allowed Americans to get to know more about each candidate and where they stand on each issue. If five to ten candidates could be eliminated each week (American Idol style), and more information and interviews could be done with the remaining candidates, by the time you got down to the final five, everyone in America would be familiar with those final people and feel positive about them because they’d been part of the process from the beginning. Aside from which, the quality of the people you’d be left with is likely to be better than anyone we’ve seen in the past few decades.
Finally, we could use Ranked Choice Voting to narrow the final five down to two. The first place winner would be the presidential candidate for the party, and second place would be the vice-presidential candidate. Imagine that…choosing your own president AND vice president!
Again, I know these are all outrageous ideas that have never been done before, but considering what we’ve all been through over the past several elections, maybe that’s the kind of idea whose time has come.
STEP FOUR: Listen more…Talk less.
The beauty in this step is knowing that someone out there might have an even better idea than the one I just shared! Could it be a Democrat? A Republican? Independent? Libertarian? Who knows…Who cares! None of us will ever find out what creative ideas exist if we don’t put our own on “pause” for a minute and let other people share theirs with us. I can’t even imagine the endless possibilities that could grow and improve our democracy if we all follow these steps.
For now, I’ll be the first. I hope you’ll join me.
About the Creator
Teacher, mom, believer in peaceful politics! Please feel free to send [constructive] criticisms on any of my works. My genres are: dark fiction, spiritual fiction, & articles on everything from improving politics to gardening & food.
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