In his farewell address to the country President George Washington wrote the following about a “party based” system, like the one we have today.
It serves to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration….agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one….against another….it opens the door to foreign influence and corruption…thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.
Sadly, like Eisenhower’s farewell address in which he referenced the dangers of a military industrial complex, Washington’s words on the party system were not followed either and today we see the result. Today we divide voters into two basic categories, Democrat and Republican. On their merits both parties claim to be good instruments of educating voters on different political ideologies, and helping to ease the stress of who to vote for by simply putting a “D” or “R” next to their name. The problems with this political class system are numerous and damning on true democracy.
Recently at the Rutland Democratic Party HQ these issues of party establishment became all too apparent.
1. The people don’t choose their nominee, the party does. Or so this point was made all to clear to me by the self-identified chair of the Rutland Democrats, Anne Lezak. After introducing myself and asking where we could put a campaign sign for Democratic primary US Senate challenger, Captain Dan Freilich, she let me know “nowhere”, that the Vermont Democratic Party had already selected their nominee, and that we would not be allowed to place our campaign literature or signage anywhere in the vicinity. I thought this was odd and told her so as I always thought it was the voters who voted in a primary in which the party’s nominee was selected, not a few party heads in a closed room. Anne told me “No, that’s not correct, in fact all the statewide Democratic Party chairs had already done the same”. Now imagine if they declared the same for their favorite gubernatorial candidate, pack up your bags Raccine, Shumlin, Bartlett, Markiowitz, and Dunne, the chairs have decided!
2. Political Parties advocate for division and intolerance. Someone much smarter than me once said, “The things that unite us are far more numerous than those that divide us”, but that’s not what the political parties want you to think. We in the Freilich Campaign think so as well, that is why we have met with leaders of the Democratic, Republican, Tea, Socialist, and Progressive parties. A move that has been called by Carolyn Dwyer (Senator Leahy’s campaign manager) in a Bennington Banner article, “Politically expedient”. That’s the problem with party politics, if someone is reaching out to a fellow citizen who tends to vote in a different party, you are ridiculed for that. We are happy to know that we have reached out to Veterans, Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, and the like, hearing their stories, learning about their ails, and discussing solutions that aren’t all based around what “Party Leadership” tells us to say.
3. Political Parties turn their politicians into puppets. I believe there are a few who get into public service for selfless reasons. I believe that public service, be it military, volunteering, or governance is one of the highest callings we can all aspire to. But then, the parties call in on their favors. It goes like this: “We raised “X” amount of dollars for your last campaign, we had blank number of volunteers knocking on doors and making calls, so you need to vote on, or appoint to, or do this small favor…in effect, political parties are the largest and most powerful lobbies in the nation. An example of which was seen here in Vermont when health care was being debated. Senator Sanders proposed an initiative to discuss the idea of “Single payer” health insurance, Senator Leahy did not. Do you think that is because Senator Leahy doesn’t support universal health care or because the party told him he needed to vote with the party and help get passed whatever watered down, feckless bill they managed to get a vote on? Senator Leahy doesn’t break ranks with his party, that makes him weak. For example we know that Republicans are not clamoring over themselves to show bi-partisanship in working with career democrat Senator Leahy, unlike Senators Scott Brown and Olympia Snowe who both sides of the aisle try to court routinely.
And so we have the system we have today, where a majority of people disapprove of either party and in effect think most of their politicians are con-men. This is a dance the parties have perfected, and year after year they throw money around to buy media time and influence with almost no end in sight. But there is still a chance to take it back. Public servants still work for us and the parties do too. If we stopped giving money to the parties, stopped voting along imaginary “D or R” lines, and started to all once again be Americans, we could break the system. This is one of the core principles of Captain Dan Freilich’s call for a Vermont Political Revolution, where he puts country ahead of party, I implore you to learn more about it at http://danielfreilich.com/political_revolution.php.
Vote Vermonters, Vote! Make your voices heard, don’t allow the parties to manipulate our futures any longer. “And never doubt that a small, dedicated group of concerned citizens can change the world, for truly it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margret Mead
Kevin J Molduene
Captain Dan Freilich, For US Senate