Walk into a restaurant with a menu of two dishes, and you will leave immediately unless you are starving and it is the only one in town. Duality is an integral part of life; it is simple to understand and easy to preach.
As we watch with amazement, sadness, and sometimes pure horror the continuous skirmish between the White House and Congress, it is obvious that each branch of the government is using all available means to score political points, because in a few months time we the regulars, the silent majority, are expected to have the magical power of selecting a new president and Congress.
So the architects and strategists in each party are working overtime to help us make the right decision by portraying life in simple terms, for example morality is anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-taxation and many other antis. The other side then must be for abortion, gay rights, and unlimited taxation. The same applies to religion, gun control, defense, social services, war on terror and every aspect of our humble lives.
This concept can be reasonable as long as you can order salad or soup with your steak or chicken. In other words I can be anti-abortion but believe it is not the government business to make this type of personal decision. Regrettably the system doesn't provide pick-and-choose capability, it is a package. The democracy as we know it comes in two colors, red and blue, Republicans and Democrats.
Astonishingly a poll released in March of this year by Rasmussen, indicates that majority of Americans refuse to identify with either Democratic or Republican parties. http://www.rasmussenreports.com/2007/March/partyAffliationMarch2007.htm
This poll brings no surprise. Our nation after almost twenty years of the Soviet Union collapse is still struggling with the sole super power status. The recent conflicts in the Middle East prove that the most sophisticated and advanced weapons are not enough to defeat an insurgency. The war on terror raises legitimate questions about the ultimate cost of war paid by a fraction of the population. The budget deficit is at historical highs and inflation is looming with its ugly head. Seven years of ideology-driven governing created an environment of absolutes where compromises are portrayed as evils and the people's business is not attended to.
Ironically while the majority can't identify with either party because of all the above, the general election doesn't provide an alternative. So in the absence of a third party or an independent candidate, the primary plays increasingly an important role.
Behind the swinging doors of the political kitchen nothing is simple and duality is not as apparent as we are lead to believe. In America, the land of the plenty, there is no shortage of candidates willing to serve, which sometimes makes name recognition difficult and political positions fluid. These candidates will haggle, flip-flop, and maneuver over the next six to eight months to obtain the backing of the bundlers and establish the credibility obtained only through money. The recently released first quarter finances of leading presidential candidates and their major contributors is a stunning testimony to the importance of the primary and the role of special interests. http://www.boston.com/news/local/connecticut/articles/2007/04/16/presidential_candidates_raise_millions_in_first_quarter_of_2007/I strongly believe that the unique difficulties we are facing as a nation combined with the extreme polarization economically and ideologically are creating a legitimate mood of anger and desperation.
The Democratic victory in the mid-term election came about with representatives and senators that have clear conservative views and in some cases they were Republicans at some point in their careers. This fact indicates that Americans reject the narrow party line; it also confirms beyond any doubt that the majority which can't identify with either party are moderates.
As the battle lines are drawn and the election date closes in there is a need for a moderate, sensible, experienced leader, and unless the architects and strategists in each party understand this need and find the right leader, they might wake up to a nightmare where neither party is in the White House.
I think America is ready for a female, a Black man, a Mormon, or an independent for president. America is starving for a leader.