The American Family Gazette
Vol. II 1010
rom time to time I’m inclined to draft letters to the editor and short articles on and around the subjects I write about here—political Independents and the apparent state of frustration of the American public with the results of our politics and government. Infrequently, I actually submit such materials for publication. Invariably it’s in vain. But I anticipate this. I never ask the question “why”, or “why not”. I know why, or why not. The answer is twofold: Firstly, there simply isn’t a platform today in the Media for what I would describe as an Independent political point of view, not even a nascent one. Secondly, because the author, Thomas Richard Harry, is unknown. He has no apparent credentials to write about these issues. Both reasons are understandable. But that doesn’t necessarily make them justified.
Concerning the first point, almost all Media I can bring to mind have a political orientation and therefore an editorial policy both supporting and supported by such philosophy. It needn’t be either visible or blatant, though often it is. The same applies to most periodicals, popular or otherwise. They simply do not want to see pieces contrary to their political orientation. Why not? Because, politically, these are privately owned platforms from which to express support for either liberal or conservative points of view. A differing (Independent) political point of view—if even acknowledged— would be in conflict with these traditional, ideological political positions. And to a large degree, it is. So, if that’s the case, why give it a forum to criticize the status quo? That’s the part that’s understandable.
Another rational for dismissing someone seeking to present an Independent point of view is that it is held by most not to exist; that there is no such thing as an Independent political position. It’s difficult to refute this conviction because, if truth be acknowledged, today Independents have not been shown to have anything in common, politically, around which to rally; no philosophy around which they might coalesce. And, as important, no leadership has emerged to direct them toward this goal. Thus, a view that holds there is no such thing as an Independent political position today is not unreasonable—it’s wrong, but not unreasonable.
Independents may comprise more people registered to vote than either the Democrats or the Republicans, but politically they remain a story in search of an author. Even that statement may be too strong: They are a huge un-aligned and un-connected national contingent of what appears to be disappointed and/or disillusioned Americans who by the mere act of declaring themselves independent, signal they are not happy with either major (or any minor) Party or the results of governments that today either form. And yet, somehow the Media assumes they don’t have a political point of view? They must have: The very (political) act of rejecting either major Party proves that they must have. Understanding this point seems to rule out ignoring at least the potential of an Independent political position as justified. It may not be all that obvious, but it’s there; a seed just starting to sprout; it’s there.
What is this Independent political point of view I write about? Well, it’s not something esoteric or mystic, just something that has been suppressed. It’s what used to be called the goal of the political “middle:” Politics that delivers government that works for most of the people all of the time and all of the people at least most of the time. This is not centrism, but moderation. Today, the preponderance of Independents are a proxy for the political middle; the politically moderate faction that has been emasculated by the two main parties in their ideological struggles against each other. Politics today has deteriorated into a Hatfield & McCoy-type ideological feud between the far Left and the far Right, with the result that
many, perhaps most, feeling that the results of government being fought over by these two are unacceptable.
Ex-Senator John C Danforth has expressed the need to rebuild the political center better than I in his (2006) book, Faith and Politics:
“Now the collapse of the political center . . . has advanced to the point where it is a teetering ruin of its former strength. . . . Those who espouse the politics of sharp contrasts despise the political center. In their opinion, the center stands for nothing . . . The most important question in our national life is . . . whether there is any common ground for agreement on subjects critical to America’s future. . . . The reason many Americans are turned off to politics is not, as party ideologues lament, that they do not have clear enough choices between candidates. It is the opposite. They have extremely clear choices, but they do not like either of them. They do not like the candidates. They do not like either party. I have heard many people use essentially the same words in describing their election-day frustrations: I want to check a box that says, ‘None of the above.’ . . . It is important to rebuild America’s political center.”
Just who are those people Senator Danforth is speaking of? Not unrealistically they are the only slightly committed, or “soft,” Republicans and Democrats and all those Independents we are speaking of. They are the “moderate middle” that both Parties need to win elections, but which Parties do not, and do not intend to, represent governmentally. They are but a means to the parties’ ends: electoral superiority.
At some point, leadership along the moderate lines of a Senator Danforth—to use an example— will come forward to reconstruct our political center, and Independents will be a principle building block in building a moderate non-traditional political option for America’s voters. What I write about is what independents may well support—and why—and vote for: policies that are much less ideologically driven and more consequentially based. Policies that provide Balance, with a capital “B”, as I describe in my book on this issue.
The whole point of this effort is to help reverse an incredible shrinking democracy; to change the outcome of Government that is responsible for generating the attitude of Americans that America is headed in the wrong direction; that America is on the wrong track. It’s possible, I have no doubt. It could prove helpful if at least some in the Media would see the merit of acknowledging (at least) the possibility of an emerging Independent political view point.
As for the second reason why what I write is ignored, that is likewise understandable: who is TR Harry to write on such matters? Well, he’s just an average American of voting age (and then some!); but one who has spent years examining and researching this issue. One who has concluded that being a political Independent means something, even if, as it appears, most are not interested in pursuing this possibility. He has written three books generally around this issue of what being an Independent means; why an Independent is an Independent. To these editors, this should provide some credence. That he has a supportable political bias is asserted: He favors an Independent political option in our political marketplace. His position is open, above board and declared. That some of what he writes may conflict with accepted wisdom, or goes against the grain of the existing political status quo is, he believes, not unhealthy for our political debate. That’s TR Harry in a nut-shell.
When in 2000 I won a primary and ran for the US Senate, the Editorial Board of the Kansas City Star asked me why I was running. Was it to make some kind of statement? My answer was no, I was running to win. I had considered well the circumstances, and believed, based upon my assessment of the race as a third-party candidate, that the probability was good enough to make the effort. As it turned out, rather than one of three or four candidates in the race, I was one of seven, and that, so to speak, “upset my apple cart.” The point is that now, as then, I continue to ponder the situation—in this case surrounding the phenomenon of political Independents. They represent, as a group, why and what I was in the campaign for in 2000. My writing today on their behalf is but a continuation of what I perceived was politically missing some ten years or more ago. Does this history provide me with any “credentials” to write about these issues? Well, if nothing else, it should demonstrate some commitment, some persistence and continuity in dealing with it. I hope that would also count for something in any discussion of credentials.
I shall no doubt continue to draft letters to editors and short articles on and around what I write about. I will continue to submit some of these for publication, or posting here. Though those circumstances for rejection set out herein will change only slowly, they will change. The persistence necessary for this up-hill struggle is reinforced by a smallish sign I keep in my office: “You Never Fail Until You Stop Trying.”
Thomas Richard Harry