The Failure of the Two Party System

The supercilious plutocratic politician spoke with pretense of concern for the common folk. To some, conditions were so bleak that even a poser’s promise offered a ray of hope; for hopelessness is fertile ground for demagoguery.

On the other side, it is the elitism of the people’s party, similarly extending its hand of concern while the other hand is stuffed by money from bloated corporate donors.

There is no political party with authenticity. There are only insurgent candidates ringing a bell and brought down by the party apparatus.

I was in Toronto, Canada for five days and it was a fascinating experience. Talking with a number of cab drivers – all from different ethnicities – a common theme was evident. They were happy with Toronto, which is the fourth largest city in North America, cherished its diversity, low crime rate with strict gun controls, and grateful for affordable and accessible health care. Freely acknowledging high taxes, these individuals believed it was a fair trade-off.

Admittedly this is hardly a representative sample. However, when in New Orleans last year for the Pioneer Network conference, I found drivers telling a different tale: one of struggle, fear and weariness. When realizing I was from Colorado, all lit up (pun intended) with a smile, lamenting it will never happen in Louisiana. There was a hopelessness in their voice.

Reflecting back on the bloviated political process: its unfathomable length, corporate influences, drama, divisiveness, denigrations, character assassinations, ad nauseam, after all that we wind up with the two most unpopular and untrusted candidates in the history of polling.

If that is not an indictment of the two party system, what is? Neither candidate, once again, in my opinion, exuded the qualities of servant leadership: humility, truthfulness, and transparency. One may fairly argue that one candidate was more experienced, prepared, and deserving, and I voted for that one, yet despaired over the whole bloody mess of a process.

The system failed us and recriminations and shaming abound in lieu of essential soul searching and humbleness. The strongest military power in the world is eliciting fear and despair among some of our own citizens (particularly minorities and immigrants), intensified by massive economic disparity, failing education, expensive and sometimes unaffordable health care and an insidious xenophobia.

What appears to work in Canada is certainly not happening here. When our President expresses admiration for the Philippine president, boasting of murdering extra judiciously so called drug dealers, we have lost the claim to be “a shining city on the hill.”

The two party system didn’t just fail in 2016. It’s been eroding over the decades, with less than 50 percent voter turnout, and large special interests dominating both parties. I believe we need to transcend this; that state and federal restrictions and obstacles should be eviscerated and promote fresh growth. To get growth one needs to pull out the weeds. It is time.

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