It is safe to say that for the last 100 years, the US government has been dominated by one of two parties.
In recent years, the Republican Party changed after a large influx of estranged Democrats fled to the party after World War Two, continuing on into the 1990s. Many of today’s self-proclaimed conservatives are actually individuals who would have been Democrats during the Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt years. A majority of Republicans espouse some of the same beliefs that so called “liberal” Democrats do, but with an emphasis in different areas. Democrats and Republicans often argue over minutia and specifics while behaving as though there are miles of differences between the two platforms, when in all actuality there is very little difference. The discourse between these two parties have little impact on the major issues that concern Americans today. If Americans seek true change, it will not be within these two old, worn out political machines. Instead, it will be within the surging Libertarian brand that by its most basic political philosophy welcomes all, regardless of ethics, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or gender.
Modern Republican presidents and nominees support all of the major ideas of modern Democrats. For instance, on the issue of government healthcare and government regulation of healthcare, George W. Bush signed into law The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act on December 8th, 2003. Many Republicans who argued against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) signed by President Barack Obama, supported President Bush’s bill wholeheartedly and stood around Bush smiling as he signed it into law. It was the largest welfare medical benefits program in US history, and then-U.S. Comptroller General David Walker called it “the most fiscally irresponsible piece of legislation since the 1960s.” One will find that Republicans also support Social Security, the USDA food stamp program, farm subsidies, and huge increases in government bureaucracy. The main difference with Republicans is where they prefer the increases; while supporting small increases in domestic programs, most are adamant about massive military expenditures, domestic police forces, and domestic surveillance capabilities. This is hardly a recipe for “fiscal responsibility”, small government, or even freedom for that matter, which they supposedly support as well. Even Paul Ryan’s budget proposal for 2012 increased government spending. It is not hard to anger many Republicans by pointing out these hypocrisies. They show not just a blur in the line that separates them, but a parallel set of beliefs with Democrats who share the same beliefs on all the issues that matter.
The Democratic Party has for some time been associated with labor unions, welfare programs, environmentalism, and the antiwar movement. Democrats unabashedly support large sweeping government healthcare programs such as Obamacare and just about any sort of government intervention into the domestic economy one can imagine. They supported the TARP program along with many Republicans in Congress and the Senate. For those people who consistently vote Democrat in every election, these types of platforms are expected. It is in the foreign policy and human rights arenas where Democrats have, in recent years, fundamentally differentiated themselves from Republicans. This all changed under Bill Clinton, who involved us in Serbia and Barack Obama with Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Pakistan. President Obama has continued George W. Bush’s policies of foreign prison camps hosted within US satellite nations, the use of torture, and the suspension of Habeas Corpus. Obama has expanded upon these policies via indiscriminate drone strikes, the deployment of surveillance drones onto US soil, and the assassination of US citizens without a trial. He made it clear during his campaign that these types of activities that had taken place during the Bush administration would not continue. To this day, Guantanamo Bay remains open; and where the Bush administration tortured those they didn’t like, this Democratic president simply offs them. There can be no doubt that the Democrat side of politics bears small difference from the Republican side when it comes to foreign policy.
The only party of consequence in American politics that offers a sobering difference in platform to the two previously mentioned brutal, police state, socialist, political machines is the Libertarian Party. The platform espoused by this party calls for the shrinking of government by eliminating most social programs over time, easing people from a dependence on the largess of others and onto charities that will form as taxes decrease. Unaffordable government programs will disappear. A much smaller military would be needed under a Libertarian president, and this would once again result in a reduced need for taxes. The Libertarian platform calls for the eventual reduction of government to a minimalist state, allowing for more freedom and more individual responsibility. The elimination of coercive government is another goal of Libertarians, which in a sense would mean that taxes on income would be eliminated as all income taxes are coercive. While the election of a Libertarian president would not bring about the changes overnight, the electorate would see a serious attempt at debt reduction and an increase in personal freedoms. Libertarians are typically closer to traditional conservatives on the economy and on foreign policy.
Today’s problems within our society are caused more often than not by too much government. One doesn’t have to look far to realize that our massive runaway deficits are not caused solely by one party or another, but by the lack of both parties to offer a new change in direction or a new solution. Instead, both parties offer the US citizen two different flavors of the same tripe that caused the problems in the first place. These issues continue to become larger and more pronounced in each election because little is being done to solve them. The answer to every problem is the same: more intrusive government, when in fact, the problem was caused by intrusive government all along. Each side continues to cite “freedom” as the cause for the problem, but couching it under the term “unregulated”.
In short, if real change is to be achieved like the last President discussed during the election of 2008, then citizens must stop voting for establishment parties who have an interest in keeping the current system in place. It is important to vote for a party that actually intends to tear down some of the constructs that are doing damage, providing relief to a populace crushed under heavy taxes and the fact that we have the highest incarceration rate in the world. If we are serious about saving this country, then you cannot vote for either establishment candidate this year. Your vote must be Libertarian.
Photo credit: DonkeyHotey (Creative Commons)