Press-Republican

Columns

January 6, 2013

A call for extreme independence

Some readers complain that I am far too conservative, while others lament that I am far too liberal. I actually pride myself as a pragmatic independent, and try to be immune to the group-think of either party.

It is ironic that this nation so enthusiastically cast off artifacts of British rule but retained a political system that differed little from the monarchy. We have our House and they have their Commons, we have our Senate and they have their Lords, we have our president and they have a monarch that could, ostensibly, veto any legislation. Both nations maintain a strong sense of party affiliation.

Actually, I would prefer there be either many parties, or perhaps no parties at all. I see little to gain from the self-reinforcing and self-rewarding party system. Parties force us all into group-think and force candidates to subjugate their own ideals.

Have you ever heard of dysfunctional Nebraska politics? Me neither. Long ago, they broke the grip of of party politics. During the Great Depression, Nebraska amended its constitution to abolish the bicameral system and instead adopted one legislative body. They also abolished parties. 

The primary elections for their representatives winnows the field down to two candidates who go head to head in the general election. Candidates do not run as Democrats or Republicans, just Nebraskans. In the process, Nebraska discovered that the cost of legislation went down significantly, and efficiency was raised dramatically. In the year following their amendment to take some politics out of politics, the cost of governing was halved and the number of bills successfully navigating their legislature increased.

Nebraska did so because they believed their elected officials should run on their own records and ideals, and that their actions should be based on convictions, not the dictates of faraway party leaders and moneybags.

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