A guide for avoiding party entanglements

“Leland, are you a lifelong Democrat?” was the header for an e-mail I received recently. “Are you abandoning Trump?” was the headline on a political ad that came my way the other day.

Have we lost our democracy? Ours is supposed to be a government for the people.

The government, parties and candidates exist to serve us.

But I am looking at two parties that seem to believe I exist to support them. They might as well preface their appeals, “Dear Lemming.”

Among the many reasons to criticize the Communist Party is that it exists solely to serve and perpetuate itself.

The population it “serves” is mere cannon fodder. Just ask the people who protested in Tiananmen Square or Hong Kong.

Likewise Putin. He stopped caring about Russians long ago.

Just ask Russian dissenter Alexei Navalny,  or the 20,000 Russian soldiers who have died in Ukraine, or the millions of Russians who are suffering economic hardship.

Yet Putin dangles the threat of atomic weapons if he doesn’t get his way, daring anyone to try tempering him. He’s sunk into the mire of his personal delusions of power.

This is what happens when politicians view their own grip on power as the ultimate goal.

Other politicians become the enemy. Checks and balances become mere obstacles. The governed become chattel.

Ask yourself if you see any of these characteristics in your political party. If you do, wake up.

Did you really see your life change during the Obama administration, the Trump administration or so far in the Biden administration? It doesn’t matter if we elect a Republican or a Democrat if their sole purpose is to retain their party’s grip on power.

The problem lies with our continuing dependence on political parties.

They are a necessary tool in our system of government, like a hammer to a carpenter. But in this case, the hammer has become more important than the house it was supposed to build.

Here’s where I should wind up with a flourish and offer you a brilliant solution.

I cannot do that, as the parties are here to stay. I can, however, share my thoughts on living with the problem.

First, to hell with party affiliation. Nobody earns a thing from me by cloaking themselves in red or blue.

This isn’t a football game. And party platforms long ago ceased to be anything other than voter-bait.

Second, I reject out of hand any politician who does not humbly and respectfully present detailed working solutions to problems I want solved.

I won’t settle for “he’s a man of the people” or “he’s a man of God.” After all, Osama Bin Laden, the Grand Inquisitor and Genghis Khan all claimed to be men of the people and God.

Unfortunately, platitudes are used liberally by both sides to push the right buttons without actually saying anything.

Third, when I can’t find candidates passing muster, I shake off my apathetic stupor and turn to rebellion. I vote for whomever displays the most promise for disempowering the beast.

I’m for anyone committed to reducing the size, scope and power of government. I call it my People’s Manifesto.