2009/03/03

America's Two-Party System

[Republicans] continue to insist on maintaining in the twenty-first century every ounce of the poverty, ignorance, prejudice and class apartheid that marked the eighteenth.
- David Michael Green, AlterNet. Posted March 3, 2009

But don't the rest of you gloat; for example:

The Democratic Party -- especially of the last decade -- is a shameful thing...
So, to business:
This is the first major politician in my lifetime who talks to us in living color, in three dimensions, and without a subtle but sickening constant pandering of built-in contempt. I doubt we can underestimate the effect this alone will have in raising permanently the quality of our discourse. There will be no going back after this...
There is our challenge: Whatever our beliefs, let us - all of us - discuss them as adults, come to some conclusions and move forward.

Whether we do that in a two-party system or create something new, we have work to do.

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Interestingly enough, I say this from Vermont - almost the last bastion of direct democracy, the Town Meeting. Perhaps we should reclaim this from the movement toward Australian Ballot.

Admittedly, Australian Ballot has a theoretical advantage in that each voter can have their say, at a time that's convenient for them (ex: regardless of work schedule).

However it's only for those few issues that make the ballot. And the theoretical advantage is balanced against a real and tragic loss.

Town Meeting is the active making of law by way of face-to-face discussion with one's neighbors; the ballot box is not even a shadow of this.

1 comment:

mvgfr said...

Update: Vermont's largest city, Burlington, just re-elected the Mayor, Bob Kiss.

Interestingly, he's an Independent and was elected via "instant runoff" (IRV).

For we proponents of IRV, this seems to be the next logical step in our democracy, to break out of the "hegemony" of the two-party system.

I think Vermont is leading the nation again. :)

Hopefully, we'll bring IRV to statewide offices as well - ending Gov. Douglas' reign, made possible by simply watching more centrist/liberal candidates split that vote.

Or indeed, the damaging sub-battle the centrist/liberal side goes through in most elections, telling themselves that they've somehow got to choose one candidate, to avoid the vote split.