I’ve always deemed myself an independent in politics. Throughout my lifetime, I have witnessed my parents’ debate prior to elections. Some years they voted for a republican. Other years they voted for a democrat. Perhaps I developed my own political values and opinions from them, but I can safely say that when I vote I will vote for the individual whose ideas and beliefs resonate with me the most. Furthermore, I will vote for who I think is the best person running, because I believe that is what is most important. I won’t simply vote for a party. The party is not the one giving speeches and forming/maintaining diplomatic relations with presidents from other countries.
I took the “Shortest Quiz” and came out a Libertarian. To me, it made sense. I do tolerate diverse lifestyles and oppose social conservatism. Yet I also am averse to the Democrat’s fiscal irresponsibility, and think government’s power should be limited. Apparently I am a part of the “14%.” I’m hardly shocked at the label I was given.
When it comes down to it, I vote for the best person because that is who I would like heading our country. I guess the beauty of being a libertarian (if I indeed am one) is that I always come out somewhat even. If I vote for the Republican candidate, I might sacrifice certain social values but come out on top in terms of fiscal policies. If I vote for the Democratic candidate, it might be the opposite. The two party system has dealt me a hand where I cannot totally lose, and I can’t completely win either. In the words of Jerry Seinfeld, “Elaine, don’t get too down. Everything will even out. See, I have two friends. You were up, he was down. Now he’s up, you’re down. You see how it all evens out for me?” Below is an unrelated scene from that episode, “The Opposite” – perhaps my favorite of all time.
That is a problem with the party system. It creates the perception that the answers to issues are black or white (no pun intended). This doesn’t provide American citizens with the right way to conceptualize the election, nor does it provide those who understand these issues to make the most out of it. Sure, it makes voting easier, but is that a good thing?
In reality, there are plenty of people who disagree with one party on some issues, and agree with the other party on different ones. Having more parties and diverse representation would allow people to find parties that might more closely align with their own views. Of course, there are disadvantages to this including a lack of stability and less economic growth, as well as more chaos like one might see in hung parliament. Perhaps it would be worse, but it is still interesting to ponder.
In my opinion, a citizen’s ballot should be cast based on whichever candidate they see as more of an extension of themselves, in terms of beliefs, values, and issues concerning our country – a weighing of the pros and cons of a particular candidate, not out of devotion to a particular party. That is the most we can do.