Like many Americans I find that the current two-party system does not meet my needs as a citizen. I want to engage in the political process, but it is hard to get motivated to fight for things that I believe should be obvious. So often, I end up voting against a candidate instead of for one who more-or-less lines up with my ideas about how we should be governed.
One challenge to having another party is that the two-party system has generally met the needs of most US voters. Another challenge to the success of an additional party is that “…the two-party system consolidates power and resources in a way that outsiders of all stripes have been unable to break through.” (1)
Politics and economics are intimately intertwined. Much of what you vote for in American politics boils down to how we should pay for services. There is a fundamental belief in Capitalism as the base for our policies, with the Left and Right disagreeing mostly on how taxes should be levied and spent. I know there are other factors – for some voters the only issue is abortion. (This issue gets an inordinate amount of press coverage seeing as how “over the past several decades, rarely have more than 2% ever volunteered it as a top issue.” (2).
For the last couple of decades there has been growing interest in finding a viable third party to challenge the established Republican/Democrat dichotomy in American politics. I too have felt inadequately served by the two-party system. Since the 2016 election, I have been researching and analyzing in earnest and although I lean Democrat, I can’t help but shake the notion that by-and-large, the Democratic Party doesn’t represent my beliefs. Given the success of Bernie Sanders in the 2016 campaign, it would seem that I am not alone in this belief.
I am a secular-humanist, liberal globalist. What does that mean? Secular humanism is a way of life that adopts a nonreligious worldview. It “incorporates the Enlightenment principle of individualism, which celebrates emancipating the individual from traditional controls by family, church, and state, increasingly empowering each of us to set the terms of his or her own life.” (3). Codified in the Declaration of Independence, it is simply stated as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. I would expand on this idea slightly to say that I believe that the government exists to help us all to achieve these unalienable rights.
Additionally, secular humanism is a “naturalistic philosophy” that has a cosmic outlook rooted in science (4). This naturalistic philosophy suggests that there is no need for a supernatural explanation for events, that the natural world follows laws that explain all the phenomena in the universe. I would also argue that this worldview does not negate a personal view of spirituality or the existence of a higher power. Only that we ought not try to replace science with fantasy. There is some wonder in the unknown.
Furthermore, secular humanism has a consequential ethical system – “Secular humanists seek to develop and improve their ethical principles by examining the results they yield in the lives of real men and women.” (5).
This leads directly into the next part of my worldview – I am a liberal. Liberalism is a worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. Liberalism encompasses a vast array of beliefs, but generally they support freedom of speech, freedom of the press, civil rights, democratic societies, secular governments, gender equality, and international cooperation. (6).
My driving belief is that all of us are one people, and that we should look at an injustice to one as an injustice to us all. I believe that we have the resources and the technology to make the planet
Lastly, I am a globalist. A term that is new to me. I became aware of it, ironically, from watching the alt-crazies on YouTube. There are a number of different views on what the definition of globalism is, but I will argue for this one – a ideology that “… tends to advocate for such policies as increases in immigration, free trade, lowering tariffs, interventionism and global governance. It is typically viewed as opposite of nationalism.” (7).
I believe that the only way for humans to advance is to start thinking and acting like we all are in this together and we all share the same fate if it doesn’t work out. Walls and borders have never worked – from Jericho to the Berlin Wall and from Hadrian’s Wall to the Great Wall of China. There is no way to keep people and ideas from intermingling and the attempt to stop it creates strife.
I have never understood why we’d rather spend 100 billion dollars to build a wall instead of taking that money and improving the lives of the people that are trying to escape violence and tyranny. Remove the inequality, poverty, and violence that are the root of the problem.
I don’t profess to have the answers to the complex interactions that make the world what it is. I would argue that it is time for a change and that it is time to grow beyond a tribal system of governance. We can’t continue to have an “us vs. then” mentality. The world is too small and the means of catastrophic destruction are at our fingertips. There should also be a sense of urgency. Not only do we face the destruction of the environment through man-made climate change, we also have the most powerful nightmare-inducing weapons ever created in the hands of incompetent and unstable people.
I would like to end on a positive note, but that would not be prudent. The clock is ticking and we, the concerned citizens of planet earth, need to get involved and restore sanity.
There is no “Planet B”.
(Note – I will be following this essay up with one that outlines specific stances that a party like this might have).
Daniel Cashman, EAMP, MS (AOM), NCCAOM Dipl. Acupuncture