TEA parties in significant numbers have been held across the land with many thousands participating. The participants weren’t just protesting taxes. The signs they carried point to contention regarding many of the hot topic issues; healthcare, cap and trade, stimulus funds, TARP funds, the Recovery Act, and others. Many folks demonstrated that they were mad as hell and they weren’t going to take it any more!
We are seeing similar protests at the various town hall meetings taking place. While most were relatively civil they have figuratively thrown the kitchen sink at some legislators who dared show up. Protesting on such a broad range of issues goes more toward reform than change.
I believe the time is right for a third party to come to the forefront. The Republican Party appears weakened and perhaps at a historical low point relative to exerting political clout. And, as the months roll by the Dem’s GPA is heading South. The in-party must lead to succeed and right now that is not happening. From my perspective neither party has sufficient political strength to pull a wet string out of a sick hen’s butt.
There are some that would like to dispense with the political party system and have people stand for election based on their own ideology and merit. Doable, but I think it would lead us right back to the situation that prompted the organization and support of such parties . When people feel disenfranchised and unsatisfied with government they will look for a way to influence government to act more to their liking.
Interesting that George Washington opposed political parties and hoped none would come to fruition. During his tenure as President, faction’s, or small groups of like-minded people began to form seeking to gain more influence over legislation. In response, Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s Secretary of the Treasury who favored a strong central government formed the Federalist Party in 1789. This led to the formation of the Democratic-Republican Party, 1792, founded by James Madison and Washington’s Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, who opposed Hamilton’s agenda. In the mid 1820’s the Democratic-Republican Party split into the Jacksonian Democrats and the Whig Party led by Henry Clay. The Democrats opposed the Bank of the United States and the buildup of Industry, which they believed, would work to the detriment of the taxpayer. This ushered in the Jacksonian era and our first populist president. The Whig Party faded away in the 1850’s morphing into the Republican Party, 1854. Lincoln was elected the first Republican President in 1860. Noteworthy that during this period the conservatives served the Democratic Party and the more liberal minded served the Republican Party. Since 1852 the Democratic and Republican Parties have controlled the Presidency and from 1854 the two parties have controlled the Congress as well.
Ross Perot received 18.9% of the popular vote in his 1992 bid for President. Most third party efforts have received less than 1% of the popular vote. The reason for such poor showings suggests poor organization, lack of funds, unrealistic objectives, single initiative agendas and others. I believe a major reason lies with the lack of trust in politicians in general based on the voting public’s long experience with politicians in government. In my opinion voters no longer trust the government to do the right thing, even as they continue to re-elect their incumbent representatives 90-95% of the time.
Recently, I’ve read and heard more references to “replenishing the tree of liberty” than I’ve observed in my lifetime. Today’s Wash. Post, ‘A’ section, includes an article about a blogger who was upset about three judges who had ruled against the NRA in a case before the court. In a blog post, on June 2nd, the man wrote “Let me be the first to say this plainly: These Judges deserve to be killed.” “Their blood will replenish the tree of liberty. A small price to pay to assure freedom for millions.” On the front page of the “B’ section is an article relating to a fellow who wore a sidearm strapped to his leg while protesting outside a building where Obama was speaking. He had carried a sign that read “it is time to water the tree of liberty.” I sense that people are more dissatisfied with government now than at any time during my lifetime. Why should we not look to a third party for revolution, to give us a new start, a new direction? Thomas Jefferson suggested that every 20 years we should indulge in the manure of revolution.