The U.S. Needs A Fifth Party

It’s fair to say that the majority of people aren’t thrilled with the current political landscape. You, dear reader, have probably vented some frustrations in the break room, in a Facebook post, or around the dinner table.

This is nothing new.  Even before Hillary Clinton & Donald Trump clinched their respective nominations people had a bad taste in their mouths from politics.

Political polarization has been on the rise for years. (Pew Research Center, 2014) Each party has pushed the other to their respective extremes, preventing cooperation. We see this everyday on the news, but the most serious evidence of this is the government shutdown of 2013. (Politico, 2013) Republicans & Democrats were so polarized that they become impotent. They couldn’t compromise enough to do their jobs and pass a budget.

As if polarization isn’t a big enough problem, add to the mix the disdain of the two party system. Americans are more disillusioned with the two party system than they have ever been. (Gallup, 2015) It seems the vast majority of voters settle for a vote against an opponent they disagree with, rather than for a representative they’re excited about.

So Americans are forced to compromise in electing representatives to the highest offices in the country, simply because they think they only have two options. Neither of which excite the majority of the public.

It should not be this way.

If we compromise our values and beliefs to elect a politician, how can we fault them when they compromise theirs?

We should not settle when it comes to electing our leaders. The stakes are too high. Simply put, we need more options.

The US needs more than two parties.

All signs point to it. The trends above suggest people are ready for it. The idea isn’t really radical at all. The US political system shouldn’t be controlled by two parties when nearly half of its citizens don’t identify with either. (Gallup, 2015)

Luckily, there is another viable option: Gary Johnson of the Libertaian Party. The merits of the Johnson Weld ticket and the Libertarian Party as a whole are too numerous to expound upon here, so I have linked resources for you.

I am thrilled for the Libertarian Party to have a strong presence this year. I will most likely vote Libertarian for my first presidential election. I encourage you to check into Johnson and the Libertarians. They can topple the duopoly in Washington with your vote.

Jill Stein of the Green Party is also making a relatively strong showing in polls. People are beginning to support outsiders in bigger numbers.

These third and fourth options are a wonderful start, but I feel there is more that should be done.

I think many millions of Americans could rest comfortably in the Libertarian party, but I recognize that some wouldn’t. However, there’s no reason voters should align with either Republicans or Democrats if they don’t feel compelled to.

If not Libertarian, Amercians should have the option of Green PartyReform Party,  American Solidarity Party, or Constitution Party candidates.

I’m encouraged by the third and fourth party support, but why not a fith party?

Brazil has 5 parties. Finland has 6 parties. Germany has 6 partiesDenmark has 9 parties.

There’s no reason a developed country as diverse as the United States should be limited to two parties. If you perfectly align with Republicans or Democrats that’s great, but there are millions who do not. Especially this year. 

The US could transform into a multiparty system that’d more accurately represent the spectrum of views held by its citizens.  It’s entirely possible for the parties above and others yet to gain traction to be represented in all levels of government.

This is an awesome idea, but nothing changes if nothing changes. Other parties only rise if you vote for them.

I encourage you check into the Libertarians and other parties this election cycle. Your vote is only as limited as you make it.

Should Businesses Refuse Services To Protest LGBT Legislation?

The issue of transgender bathroom use has been a divisive topic recently. There’s a wealth of commentary on nearly every side of the issue. There are even some sympathetic, nuanced perspectives that I think are profitable.

I don’t have much to add the primary conversation, but one thing that struck me was the protest from businesses and individuals.

Bruce Springsteen, PayPal, Disney, and others have boycotted or threatened action in response to legislation concerning transgender bathroom use and other LGBT issues.

Not surprisingly, there was a public response to those actions. These businesses and individuals were met with praise and criticism alike. Public policy issues like this draw plenty of commentary, but it’s always a mixed bag. My concern is not with the quantity of commentary, but the quality.

There seems to be some inconsistency in the attacks and affirmations.

The same people that currently praise these businesses criticized others standing up for their convictions. Likewise, the same people that currently criticize these businesses praised others for doing the same.

I immediately thought of the Christian baker controversy of last year. These bakers didn’t want to bake a cake for a homosexual marriage, as motivated by their beliefs.

Generally speaking, social liberals called these bakers bigoted, while social conservatives praised their convictions. The roles seem to have been reversed this time. Social conservatives call PayPal and others bullies, while social liberals applaud their actions.

This is an incredibly hypocritical stance on both sides.

If Christian bakers should have the right to refuse service other businesses should too. Similarly, if the Christian bakers are bigots for refusing service then other businesses are too.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

It’s totally unfair to ostracize one business for acting on its convictions while admiring another for doing the exact same thing. Social liberals and social conservatives are both guilty of this.

I suppose you can argue that only businesses with your beliefs and convictions should be able to boycott or refuse services. That’s a biased position, but you can hold it.

You cannot, however, argue that it is a business’s right to do so. If so, then other businesses you don’t agree with have license to protest as well.

Sometimes we might have to grit our teeth through a protest or boycott, even if we don’t agree with the beliefs behind it. Our beliefs may motivate a boycott or protest in the future.

So should businesses refuse services for their beliefs?

That’s a complicated question that I cannot answer for you. However, regardless of your stance on that question, you should be consistent in your answer.

What are you thoughts?

Don’t Be Ignorant On Gay Marriage, Alabama

Alabama’s Gay Marriage Ban was recently ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge. There will be a blizzard of appeals, debate, and people on both sides of the issue embarrassing themselves. But that is not the point of this post.

I have an issue with people comparing the discrimination of homosexuals today to the discrimination of blacks in the 60’s. I’m not speaking on comparisons to interracial marriage, but to the nationwide hate that faced African Americans from this period.
Regardless of how you feel about gay marriage or even homosexuality as a whole, it is absolutely ignorant to compare the two.

True, I could see where homosexuals have been denied something because of their sexuality: a job, promotion, adoption, or any of the many things that never reach headlines. I see that. I can sympathize with that argument to a reasonable extent.

But that pales in comparison to the atrocities faced by the Civil Rights Movement.
To even suggest that homosexuals’ issues are equitable to that of African Americans facing discrimination in pre-Civil Rights Act America is absurd. Even after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, violence continued on for years.

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Especially those in Alabama, you should know better. Our state was the battleground for Civil Rights. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a famous letter from a Birmingham Jail. The Montgomery Bus Boycott started by Rosa Parks took place in our state’s capitol. Martin Luther King also led a massive march from Selma to Birmingham. We have memorials everywhere,19551201_Rosa_Parks_Mug_Shot reminding us of the past. We are bombarded with it in History class. Our classmates, coworkers, and churches have family that lived it. How could we have forgotten?

Honestly, the comparison angers me. I’m always shocked whenever I hear this argument. Homosexuals have experienced prejudice, no doubt.
Homosexuals have not faced systematic oppression and outright hate like African Americans did in the 60’s.

There are no gay water fountains.

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There no restaurants that only serve straights.

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There are no signs placing gays below dogs.

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There are no police officers beating gays for having a different opinion.

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There are no German Shepherds attacking gays at peaceful protests.

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There are no fire hoses unleashing 290 pounds per square inch of water on gays.

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There are no crosses being burned the yards of gay houses.

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And most importantly, there are no lynchings of gays.

I won’t post pictures here, but all you have to do is Google “Black Lynchings” to see these travesties. In many of the earlier pictures (not necessarily 1960’s) you will see children gathered around watching this murder, because it was commonplace.
Blacks were drug behind trucks, torn between horses, lit on fire and hanged regularly. There were churches and schools being bombed. In fact, Birmingham had the nickname of “Bombingham”. The hate led to white civil rights workers being murdered as well.

Violence ran rampant in the Deep South especially, but discrimination and segregation was everywhere. Hundreds of years of tensions were reaching a boiling point. I pray our country never sees discrimination on such a scale ever again.

Iamaman.previewThis was one of the lowest points in the history of the United States. There was so much wrong being perpetrated on a daily basis. Jim Crow Laws and the Ku Klux Klan separated blacks and presented them as subhuman. Black life was far from sacred, it was often despised.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not think every person that is for gay marriage compares the two. I actually think it is a relative minority, but they are a loud minority. It only takes one person to made this ignorant statement. I also don’t want you to think I’m minimizing the battles homosexuals are facing. I am not. Homosexuals often face hate rather than understanding. I understand their resentment and feelings of discrimination. I honestly do. But.

It amazes me that people can think these two situations are comparable. They most definitely are not. Conversations on gay marriage should happen. Comparisons to the Civil Rights Era should not.

What are your thoughts? Have you heard anyone use this comparison before?