Independent is the new red…and blue

Politics is one subject that can turn a friendly conversation into an eruption of over-glorified cliché spitting and declaring one party as the Alpha and the Omega. I only say this because, as of late, and in the light of the presidential race, I’ve begun to rethink all of my nearly dogmatic stances on political issues.

For my entire life, I have been a Republican. A chew spittin’, gun shootin, Buck Knife totin’, red-blooded ‘Merican. Or at least that’s what those ol’ Liberals thought of me. And that was exactly the problem. By declaring myself a Republican, I automatically believed that everything wrong in this country could be blamed on all the hippies and homosexuals in the Democrat party. And conversely, all the Democrats saw me, as well as the rest of the Republican party, as the bigot cowboys driving this country to hell with their hatred for gays, minorities, and women.

So essentially, the “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” idea is burned deep into the psyches of both political parties. Now, that’s fine for the parties themselves and all of their disciples, but where does that leave the ones caught in the crossfire? The independent, unpredictable wild stallions that elude any doctrinal lassoing by the political parties are the last remaining breath of the American spirit.

The Independents don’t have a mask they wear to declare themselves faithful followers of some think tank; rather they wear their own faces while the Elephants and The Donkeys hide their expressionless mugs from themselves.

But the curse of the Independents is that they won’t ever be truly represented in the political realm because, unlike the established parties, Independents are all separate thinking individuals that can range from libertarians to communists. However, Independents have been stripped of their individualism and mushed into a conglomerate of non-labeled fence balancers.

The idea of a third party in the political system would offer an avenue for Independents to be heard. However, this idea might pose a threat to the independency of the Independents. I believe that this third leg would siphon some of the weight from the first two legs and show people that political issues are not all yes or no.

While some Independents might claim that they don’t want some political party to put a mask on them, most would agree that a third party’s power of voice would be worth buying into a group that might not fully reciprocate their views.

There remains one problem: the Electoral College. With the way that this system is set up, the possibility of having a third party to bring balance to the force is out of the question. And so the tragic ballad of the Independent plays on into the foggy night with no sign of a rising sun.

Next issue: Down With The Electoral College!

Ryan Lapadula, Columnist

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