Let me begin by assuring readers that this is not a puff piece on Tulsi Gabbard; she is a liberal, and I am a conservative, and in matters of politics, there are very few things the two of us would agree on, philosophically, on matters of governance. This essay is not designed to argue political philosophy, rather, I intend to point at Tulsi as the perfect example of how we exercise our rights, granted by God, to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
America is a representative Republic and, on the back of our Constitution and Bill of Rights, in accordance with state and local laws about how elections are to be conducted, we maintain our representative Republic by casting votes during elections at the Federal, state, and local levels on cycles determined by Federal and State laws. It is only on a personal, individual level (by way of our own choices) that we hold those elected officials accountable for their job performance once they are sworn in, and- under normal circumstances- it is only the next election cycle that provides the opportunity to approve or disapprove of their conduct and performance over the course of their term.
America’s electoral proposition, more or less since its founding, has always been an either-or decision; vote in favor of the people already in office or vote against them in order for them to be replaced. As the generations have progressed, we have more or less settled on either Democrats or Republicans… Liberals or Conservatives… Despite the variations in the meanings and definitions of these terms. Our electoral history informs us that we have frequently been confronted with situations where the option of “neither” would have been welcomed, each of the opposing candidates being undesirable, but having no choice other than to hold our nose and pick one because those were our only options. And since there is no such thing as a “Neither” or “Sucks Less” party, many of us found ourselves joining forces with like-minded fellow citizens and began registering and voting as Independents.
To be completely fair and honest, because of the way our electoral system determines party delegations and the methods by which they seat winners in Congress, an independent third party inevitably favors only those already in possession of congressional power. The debate about mechanics is not something I intend to indulge in this essay. Still, it is worth noting the two-and-a-half centuries worth of congressional delegations has severely mucked up the works of what the founding fathers originally intended, but that is a discussion for a different day. What is especially relevant at this moment, before the 2022 midterm elections, is the subtle but strengthening revolt against the Electoral status quo and a burgeoning declaration of freedom and Independence from the establishment within both political parties.
I have been a Conservative Republican my entire life; understand these two terms are not interchangeable. “Conservative” is a political philosophy, “Republican” is a political party, and the latter has routinely turned its back on the demands and aspirations of the former throughout much of the past 15 years or so, starting with Bush’s second term and throughout all of the Obama years. It was President Bush that convinced me it was time to leave the Republican Party, and I have been a registered independent ever since. It’s a personal choice, I know, but I noticed an increasing number of people beginning to make the same choice as we weathered the remaining Bush term before being made to lean into the tsunami that blew in with the election of Obama. My declaration of independence from the party didn’t change the world, but it gave me back my electoral freedom and Independence.
With the recent announcement by Tulsi Gabbard that she had left the Democrat Party came the personal realization that even those with whom I disagree – on political terms- are coming to the same conclusion about the failures of both political parties to remember who is ultimately in charge of the country and which direction (s) it should be heading toward. Now, like most of you, I am a veritable nobody whose decisions are of no historical value, but gabbard is a different story. She served in the military (and still does, I believe), held elective office in Congress representing the state of Hawaii, ran for President, has been on television and radio, and is heard or seen by millions of Americans. Listening to her, it’s quite clear that her concerns are not about the state of party leadership rather, they are about the destruction that leadership is causing to the American Nation, the American people, and the standing of our country in the eyes of the rest of the world.
When you or I lament these things on Twitter or Facebook or wherever else we might show up on social media, very few people ever come across it. People like Gabbard, and an increasing number of other liberals across the country, likewise coming to the same conclusions and having similarly large audiences, provides every one of us – regardless of party affiliation or political philosophy – an opportunity, putting these differences temporarily on hold, to band together as American loving citizens, and rid ourselves of the entrenched zealots holding onto power even though it might mean destroying the nation.
I’m all for going back to arguing with Democrats around the edges of policy, or as Hamilton referred to them in the Federalist Papers – “most honest and vigorous debate” – but such an environment does not currently exist in today’s systems of American governance. And if we don’t change the balance of power under which we are currently being oppressed, there won’t be a country left to engage, working together, to solve the shared problems we face.