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January 6, 2013

A call for extreme independence

(Continued)

I wish our system was much less political. We should have the opportunity to vote for someone who clearly articulates a philosophy to which each of us can relate, or at least decide whether we can accept or appreciate, regardless of party affiliation.

Too much time, effort and dollars have been “invested” in the two-party system. I can’t imagine our divided nation could adopt the successful Nebraska model. In fact, the rules are even rigged to make difficult the formation of third parties.

If one accepts a two-party inevitability, then we ought to hope for at least two viable parties to maintain a modicum of realistic choice. Unfortunately, the Republicans have been doing whatever they can to implode from within, a quality that was at one time the sole domain of Democrats. The implosion of the Republican Party may make Democrats gleeful, but it is painful for our democracy.

Of course, we have little sympathy for those who rain hardship upon themselves. During the Bush administration, to cater to their base, the Republicans adopted a rule that dictated legislation would only be brought to a vote on the floor if a majority of their majority supported it. At that point, the Speaker of the House became the speaker of his own party.

Fortunately, John Boehner, the current speaker for his party, momentarily became the Speaker of the House in the eleventh hour when he allowed the House to vote on a two-month kick of the can of the fiscal cliff sequestration. He broke with divisive party politics only under unrelenting pressure from global markets that would have likely unwound had he not. In doing so, the albeit short-time-horizon will of the people was satisfied.

Three swords of Damocles still hang over us — the punted sequester, the debt limit and, on March 27, the budget to replace a continuing resolution when we punted on Oct. 27 of last year. We face the same dysfunction in the ensuing few months to which we have become painfully accustomed. I can only hope our nation’s leaders will act in a bipartisan way.

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