Third Party & Independents Archives

Left or Right: Both are Wrong

I have two political bumper stickers on my car, one says “Shut up Hippy” and the other states “F**k the Right”. I get a lot of waves, honks, middle fingers, peace signs, angry looks, and really really angry looks. I also have car insurance in case the Hippies or the Right decides to vandalize my car. I have a Harley Davidson sticker as well, I like to think it’s the tip-off to people that I’m pro-America, pro-business, and pro-“insert biker stereotype here” (yes I ride a Harley). The point is to make people think, it’s a blatant contradiction in today’s America because it concisely states my position: both major parties are wrong and do not represent the people.

So when I get accused of being a Democrat (I’m not, I’m an independent with a slight Libertarian lean) — and of bashing on Bush because I’ve got my guns out for Republicans or some nonsense — I have to take offense. Or at least clarify my position.

Now is the point where some people expect me to go into some crazy spiel where I talk about drinking Colt 45 and spilling it on my $140 Jordan's that I bought with a welfare check, but the fact is, that's an exaggeration, they only cost $135. This paragraph really has no other point than to make you laugh and for me to tell you about how stereotypes work against both sides if you point them out. If you think all rich people live in huge mansions, read "The Millionaire Next Door". And if you think all poor people are broke because they use drugs, or are lazy, read "Nickle and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America".

Stereotypes are a dangerous tool in this age, and both right and left-wingers use them to libel the other side. There are countless websites dedicated to depicting Republicans as white Christian men, rich exploiters, and Ivy League spoiled brats from the suburbs, and every flavor of imperialist, fascist, and feudalist you could want. Just as there are countless websites dedicated to depicting Democrats as black welfare moms, inner city, drug legalizers (and pot-heads), burnt out hippies from the 60s, and every flavor of socialism, Marxism and communism you could want. The point is, these apply to those at the extreme ends of the spectrum. It's also how every party seeks to polarize itself and it's opposition, from the Nazis (right-wing) to the Bolsheviks (left-wing).

The problem is that America seems to have a cynical addiction to this polarization, which dates back to the first presidents. There was John Adams, a democrat (little "d" because it was not the party name yet) who wanted to increase federal powers and quash the opposition with the Sedition Act. And later, Jefferson, who wanted to increase state powers and quash the opposition with state laws. Do you see a trend? Read William Safire's "Scandalmonger" for the best context on American politics for that period (his writing solidified my viewpoint that to be truly objective in political discourse, you have to write against both sides).

I'm not going to apologize to Democrats if and when one of their ten candidates comes under fire from my findings, just as I don't apologize when I expose the current administration's blunders (intentional or not). I have leaned heavily on the Republicans mainly because they generate more news, and consequentially, mistakes. They are "the ins" now, and if the political field changes and Democrats are in power, they will probably lambast me and call me all sorts of licentious things when I expose their misdeeds. That's the nature of being in the middle.

I don't apologize for running stories questioning involvement in Iraq. I don't apologize for questioning Wesley Clark's role in the Waco massacre (this and other items on the former general I am still compiling for a feature). I refuse to apologize when I criticize the left for using hypothetical evidence in lawsuits to once again try to ban guns and usurp our second amendment. I absolutely will not back down in my assertion that those elected should be held to promises made during campaigns and should be judged harshly when they willfully go against the will of the people. Being critical of our government, especially those who have so much power over the future of our nation, should be a primary cause of news organizations, not an afterthought in the push for unification and nationalist fervor.

My views are not always critical of the major parties, and there are plenty who trumpet the positive aspects. That's why I don't expect to be a Limbaugh or a Franken, they hold hands with their party and it's easier for them to be accepted by their group, glad to be blind of their faults so long as they are part of a club. The fact is, I'm more content to follow the constitution, hold my independent "hammer of truth", and beat you with it.

Posted by Stephen VanDyke at September 25, 2003 1:29 PM