I do not like brussels sprouts. Vile, vile weeds.
Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe I do like them.
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See, I’ve never eaten a brussels sprout, so I really haven’t a clue whether I truly like them or if they’re the loathsome plants I perceive them to be. I’m basing my disdain on the simple but superficial fact that brussels sprouts smell nasty when they’re cooking. I once smelled hot death in the days following an earthquake in El Salvador; brussels sprouts smell worse.
But we’re all like this.
We all rely on snap judgments in forming opinions about various things, regardless of the accuracy of the beliefs that shape those opinions. We believe what we believe until there’s ample reason not to. Only then do we go in search of a new belief system.
Which brings me to this presidential election…
We voters have been led to believe that the only choices we have in the voting booth are primarily an elephant and a donkey — Republican or Democrat. It’s the strangest artificial duopoly because the 226 million American voters do not neatly align with one or the other political beliefs that define those parties today.
I tend to believe, for instance, that government should be fiscally conservative, should encourage working rather than welfare, should radically reduce spending and debt (by sacrificing sacred cows including the military and Social Security) so that the economy can breathe again, should keep tax rates at modest levels for business (we’re the third-highest in the world today, behind only the United Arab Emirates and the Central African nation of Chad) and should stay the hell away from education as well as social issues including abortion, gay marriage and anything to do with religion (as per the Constitution).
Though you would never know it by the squeakiness of the ultra-left and ultra-right that suck up all the political oxygen in America today, the fact is I’m not alone in my particular views of what America should be. Gallup polls routinely show that America, on the whole, is socially liberal and fiscally conservative — and growing more so by the year.
Neither the donkey nor the elephant represents that view of America today.
The elephant has fallen under the command of an über-religious, über-militaristic fringe group — the so-called Neocons who exploited Ronald Reagan’s avuncular likability to gain power in the ‘80s — while the donkey has lost its historical focus to a band of über-socialists more European in their beliefs and actions than most modern Europeans.
The result is that American politics, as defined by the big two parties, increasingly reflects not the beliefs of the average American, but, rather, the agenda of a very narrow group of extremists in both parties who are destroying what America is supposed to be. And that’s not fair to the rest of us.
But given the fact that just two parties dominate political life, is there any other option?
Yes, there is. And that’s where we come back to the brussels sprouts.
Finding the Middle of the Road
Let’s take the wrapper off political parties and lay out an agenda I think much of America would support:
- Eliminate double taxation on corporations and lower the corporate tax rate to stimulate the economy and bring jobs back to America;
- Keep government out of the social affairs of Americans;
- No bank bailouts and subsidies that benefit Big Business at a huge cost to the American taxpayer;
- Cut the federal budget to bring it back into balance;
- Begin to reduce federal debt to sustainable levels;
- Allow free trade, but kill off corporatism (the system by which the economy is controlled by large groups of businesses and labor and the government itself);
- Remove government from the private health care system, and reform public health care to be more efficient and less costly;
- Attack the Patriot Act as an assault on our personal freedoms;
- Reform Social Security so that it isn’t such a drain on America’s future;
- Reform the tax code so that it is fairer and simpler;
- End the wholly ineffective and ridiculously expensive war on drugs;
- Reform government through term limits for Congress;
- And reform the failing U.S. educational system.
That would be quite a platform, if only one of our political parties had the cojones to support it.
Oh, wait — one does!
The Libertarian Party — a party which, for most Americans, is the political equivalent of brussels sprouts. Few people like it, though they’ve never even tried it. They’re basing their decisions on a name — Libertarian — which has too often been associated with political Froot Loops. If the Libertarians had anyone who was switched on in their media camp, they’d be working on a new party name, such as, maybe, the New American Party, so that they might shed all those historical revulsions that people associate with the name “Libertarian.”
But consider this: The elephant candidate has precisely zero experience running government and has made numerous comments that indicate a fundamental lack of understanding about how government, trade and foreign policy work in the real world.
The donkey candidate has precisely zero experience in elected office, and is little more than a bureaucratic functionary who, like a chameleon, morphs into whatever the moment demands and who promises to be as divisive as the current donkey.
On the other hand, the Libertarian Party fields a ticket with two former state governors — presidential candidate Gary Johnson, who successfully guided New Mexico as a well-liked and highly effective governor, and vice-presidential candidate Bill Weld, the former governor of Massachusetts, a liberal Democrat stronghold, who did such a good job that he was re-elected with a massive 71% of the vote.
Libertarian – Try Something Different
So there it is: a middle-of-the-road political, economic and social platform that reflects the great bulk of America, offered up by a team of battle-tested politicians with successful track records running government.
Think about this on November 8.
America is in deep doo-doo these days. The elephants and the donkeys do not have a solution; in fact, what each has offered up will actually push America farther toward financial ruin, as shown by the nonpartisan organizations that analyze such stuff.
But the modern Libertarians do have real solutions.
So don’t go into the voting booth hating brussels sprouts just because of the way they smell. Go in and think to yourself, “Let’s try something different this time.”
You might actually like it.
Until next time, good trading…