As an observer of the American political landscape, it becomes increasingly apparent to me that more and more of the voting populace is fed -up with both major political parties. According to the new CBS/New York Times poll, 42% of the electorate declare themselves to be independent. That means that 70 million people do not align themselves with either the Democrat or Republican party. Washington Post syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker calls this
Why do so many feel so shut out by the parties and their politics? How did we get to this place? We are, says Parker, “A vast middle, slightly right-of-center nation.” Those in the middle are often fiscally conservative and instinctively know we are in financial danger. They know spending needs to stop but they do not all agree on where and how. Some of these in the middle were alienated by the Bush administration, which did some serious harm to the national well-being by spending. Yet they also see the new administration spending more in their first year than Bush did in approximately six..
Could we be seeing the end of the two-party system? I'm not a prophet, and I would be very hesitant to make such a declaration. But I do believe that both parties need to recognize that in ever-increasing numbers people feel alienated from them and their lack of responsiveness and accountability to the governed. They see little, or no difference, between either party in this regard. They are disillusioned with “
As a nation we are in a time of crisis, and crisis is always a time of opportunity. History has shown us this. The 1930's and 40's were a time of both economic and military crisis, out of it emerged those who took the opportunity to advance their agenda. The opportunists of that day shaped not only their world, but that of future generations. Most of it was not good.
Who will rise up to respond to the opportunities that are present in our time? Who can unify and draw to their side this “vast, alienated, independent, middle?” Will it be for good or for evil?
Don Walker is a teacher, counselor, and writer living in the