Declaring my complete independence

From the pages of In Business magazine.

Just days away from Independence Day, I’m declaring my independence — from party affiliation, from ideology, from just about everything.

This position was not arrived at overnight. With apologies to Churchill and his famous quote about the wisdom of age, I offer this explanation: As a youngster with a heart, I began as an independent who leaned Democrat. As an adult with a head, I became an independent who leaned Republican. Now, aging into an irretrievable cynic, I’ve developed a profound distrust of both.

Perhaps someday I’ll train myself to ignore everything and happily go through life as blissfully ignorant as a man-in-the-street interviewee. You know, the low-information voter who can’t even identify the president or vice president. (Actually, the latter is completely understandable, but you get the point.) Recite to him a few of the timeless phrases from the Declaration of Independence, the reason we’re about to celebrate with parades and picnics and fireworks displays, and you get enough vacuous stares to make you want to ask for the return of the school portion of your property taxes.

Until that day of forced ignorance arrives — tuning out isn’t as easy as it sounds, or professionally practical — I’m stuck with the evil of two lessers. If I had the money and could actually pass the background check, I’d launch an Independence Party to challenge the two major parties. Have you noticed that both of these sorry outfits are edging closer to their left-right extremities, making compromise impossible even when the middle ground is plain to see?



Never have I been more convinced that the time is right for a third alternative. My kingdom for: a party that can operate with common sense; a party that doesn’t just fall in love with a poll-tested concept, but understands that design and execution actually matter; a party that’s faithful to our founding document (as amended), not one that betrays it whenever ideological whim dictates; a party that believes government and business have a symbiotic relationship, not a master-slave arrangement; and a party that wisely and efficiently and effectively spends the money we send to Madison and Washington.

Now that would be a party worth celebrating. To those who say being a middle-of-the-roader means you become roadkill, that’s definitely a risk. But it’s better than being so far right or left that you end up stuck in a ditch. Sadly, on America’s 238th birthday, that sums up our predicament.

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