What do ideas like liberty, independence, and freedom mean in the context of our current world? We can make our own choices, but there are certainly limits to what is deemed allowable (laws) and acceptable (norms)- although not always the same things allowed are accepted and vice versa. One very important freedom in the U.S. for example, we can vote. Our independence to vote for a candidate to represent us is confined by who we can “select” within a “two-party” system, which is ironically being tugged by voices outside of either paradigm to sway the political process this 2016 cycle. The independent faction has responded to this tide by an uprising of candidate’s who aren’t even members of the republican nor democratic party, but must run on the party line ticket to even be eligible for nomination.
Is this the best independent’s of this great nation can do? What if there was open primaries and there was no (R) or (D) or (I) next to any names? You would have to <gasp> vote for an actual candidate based on their platform! It’s kind of exciting and new-agey, but would it work?
It has been the norm since my adulthood that there is a polarity in politics. A right and a left, conservative and liberal positions. Either side seeks to own a voice on various issues, each one opposing the other out of necessity for preservation of it’s own validation as a paradigm. Often these issues are considered ethical or moral stances- abortion is a hot one for example. There’s no squishy room in the middle for people who look at each issue on it’s own, and who also don’t assume that being for one thing means your remaining values are automatically prescribed to oppose another based on political party affiliation.
On the liberal ideology we have a large turnout of the working class, or proletariat, an often (though definitely not always) higher-educated middle to lower income group of people who see the massive gap in their political representation and their paycheck. They are taking the country by storm, banding together after the financial crisis of 2008 tore a hole in their savings and future retirement prospects. Housing was largely lost or given up, and the consensus is frustrated. Student loans are a necessary evil for many to escape the likely impoverished community they are otherwise prescribed to, with interest rates higher than auto loans it might make better short-term financial sense to take up a delivery driver job instead of seeking a college degree for their future career training. The very important issue for this group- How does the government take interest in aiding the large financial interest of institutions before taking interest in the actual people who are the real pillars of our government? These are not only alert citizens but also the dominant contributors to the wheel of capitalism, even though seldom directly benefiting from their loyal contribution. Perpetual serfdom.
On the conservative ideology we have two different strategies to pull in a voter base- a prominent religious undertone, and often educationally suppressed group of people. Since there is no understanding of the manipulation on either side, issues that directly affect the lives of this group are of particular interest- like veterans benefits for example since enlistment is a guaranteed income for very low-income young people looking for any way out. There is always of course the wealthy supporters of this group as well. The issues become freedom from government, mostly taxation and regulation of business prospects. This group identifies themselves as those who are financing the governments ambitions to maintain a status quo for all, and they are pissed about it. People need to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and figure out how to make their own lives better, without the big government wiping their fannies. This mentality is often from entrepreneurs who struggled to get where they are, but presume others can make the same sacrifices they did and anyone else can do it too. Unless of course you are one of those illegal immigrants, then you better learn to climb great big walls. Success isn’t deserved, it is earned. These are the people who look at the business world and seek to create jobs, even if they are not ideal paying jobs- since the risk of opening the business ought to be rewarded at a higher rate than the reward for merely being employed by the business. Lords who inevitably support our troops, since our troops “protect” their investments. Also, guns. Lots and lots of guns.
Representative government is what we are supposed to have, but is that what is really happening? And if so, representative of who? A group of “united citizens”? See what I did there…
Of course this will light a fire under some of your arses, don’t get upset if I didn’t address your particular position in life, or your viewpoint. If you feel unfairly lumped in a group, that’s the problem we are all facing. Disenfranchised voters- that’s what we are called. It’s a real phenomenon. I can’t tell you how many times a devoted democrat assumed I was one of those enemy republicans because I strive to work for myself and have ambition to do better than I was given, I must be greedy. Or on the other side, a republican who assumed I was one of those pansy liberals who wants everyone else to pay for my way since I am not angry about immigration and I will proudly declare that ‘humans are humans’. One viewpoint is assuming the other is the opposite on all things and must then be declared an enemy. So there is a very large group of us, right here in the middle of it all, with viewpoints that seems to be invalid because they aren’t entirely one-sided. We are independents with less independence than any other voter.
How is this freedom?
We are limited by popular acceptance to voting for one of two parties. You have to either mostly agree with one “party” or you can vote against the one who disgusts you the most by propping up their strongest opponent with your vote- see what I did there… If you take the liberty you are allowed to vote for anyone else, there aren’t enough people in your “party” for it to matter. Go ahead and try, see… you “wasted” your vote.
To clarify, we need to discuss why there are necessary limits to our freedoms. It’s pretty easy really, to protect us from impeding on one another’s freedoms. Life, liberty and property- wait not that- pursuit of happiness. There, now that’s better. It’s always better when it’s edited properly to portray the actual political interest. Because if we had a right to property, well, then it couldn’t be taken from us by the powers that be unless we lost it square in a card game. More on that another time.
This didn’t clarify why our voting freedom is limited to an antiquated polarized system. In order to preserve our freedoms, we must exercise them. If we want to remain independents with independence, we must exercise our interest in freedom and take the liberty to vote accordingly. Now if we could just settle on the right candidate together.