Letter to Editor: What Party by Jimmie Galbreath

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Political parties. I am sure that we have all gotten tired of the two we have from time to time. Watching elections in Iceland, England and France did create a feeling of ‘choice’ envy for me as these countries have multiple political parties to choose from. It made our two party system seem dull and simplistic.

Looking back to the birth of our Constitution it was mildly surprising for me to see that political parties were not mentioned at all. The Founding Fathers were aware of the existence of such organizations from the Mother Country and there seems to have been some debate about them. My two favorite quotes from their writings are;

There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution. ~ John Adams

The common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it. ~ George Washington, 

These are just two observations from the early leadership of our country. Many of them were seemingly worried about the rapid rise of the political parties of the day. Sitting back and trying to look from afar I think I can see why. Our two party system has settled into two unyielding camps who seem to only care about the “Party” first,  and America only when it is convenient and when elections loom. Each politician wrapped in a flag, legislating for dollars and pandering for votes. This is a far cry from a serious, sober debate about the real issues of our time and how they affect the common citizen.

It doesn’t help that what passes for news today, both in video and print, is often little more than slander. Labels such as Fascist, Libtard, Communist and many others are thrown like mud in passionate declarations, memes, and accusations. I have been driven into near seclusion and left starved for a calm discussion of anything serious because an insulting label comes flying out almost immediately. Once that happens the emotion clouds, and any conversation and reason becomes impossible. Even talking about the weather can get a person labeled if the comment can be linked to climate change by the listener.

What can a citizen do? Well, if we want to be active and can’t stomach our current party choices, vote independent or third party. The current parties holding on to power rests with them getting votes and silencing those who don’t cooperate. Both sides use the same philosophies to achieve this end. Who hasn’t heard, “voting third party is a waste of your vote,” or “he/she is not a Democrat or Republican and so they can’t get anything done.” Another goldie oldie is, “there can only be two parties.” Now, this last one IS true because our Founders for good or ill set us up this way. That doesn’t mean it has to be THESE two parties. Let’s circle back to an inconvenient truth for the current Parties. They cannot maintain power if they can’t get our votes.

The only reason independents don’t wield more power is that there aren’t enough of them. The citizens that can’t stomach the current power duo outnumber the supporters of each of the main parties. Going to the polls and ‘wasting’ your vote is the only avenue open if you want to be noticed. Be defiant, be a rebel, raise a stink, vote for someone else. Not at the presidential level perhaps but absolutely at the state and local levels. Teach yourself to recognize the mindless label when it slithers out from the thrown rock, and understand that the one who threw it isn’t driven by a desire to support their fellow Americans. The rock thrower just wants you, and everyone like you ,to go away; they will pass by the other side.

Jimmie Galbreath is a retired engineer originally from a small family owned dairy farm in Jefferson County, Mississippi. He earned a B.S in petroleum Engineering from Mississippi State University, with twenty years nuclear technology experience. Along the way he worked a s roustabout on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, served 3 years active service as a quartermaster officer in the US Army, supervised brick kilns, first in MS and then in Atlanta GA and whatever else it took to skin the cat. He now lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. 

Letters to Editor

  1. Jim Franke says:

    “In Gallup’s most recent analysis, 42 percent of Americans identify as independent, compared with 29 percent who say they are Democrats and 26 percent who say they are Republicans.”
    Some 16% of the independents “lean” Democrat, 14% lean Republican leaving 12% independent.
    In Maryland, 17% are registered as “unaffiliated”, 55% Democrats, 26% Republican, and 1.5% Libertarian,Green. or other.

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