Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Paid My Dues

One of the hotbed political issues for Republicans and Conservatives in 2011 (I list these groups separately because all Republicans are not Conservative and many Conservatives are not Republican) is the idea that people shouldn't be forced to join a union in order to participate in certain parts of the economy There is likewise a feeling that even such participation should not force one to pay dues to an organization that they either did not and would not join if they had an actual choice in the matter, and that they feel does not represent them in spite of the money that they are forced to contribute.  I could not agree with these sentiments.

How is it then that the greatest offenders on a national scale are many of those same politicians?  Oh, don't get me wrong here, I don't believe that there is a 'politicians union' operating in this country, in spite of the fact that they have much of the same negotiating philosophies with their bosses; and seem perfectly willing to let their job provider (us) go down the tubes as long as they are in a position to collect their healthy compensation & pension packages. There are in fact however, two national organizations that seem to follow many of the same practices as those that (at least on the right) they demonize. 

How else am I to view Democrats and Republicans?  Both of these national organizations, like Unions, normally require proper affiliation before they offer preferred treatment and seek to help you.  Even when membership requirements have been established, they provide only limited assistance when seeking a job (and less than that for Republicans in Lucas County, Ohio).  Both insist on demonstrations of loyalty before power and responsibility are granted within their ranks.  Both seem perfectly content to sacrifice one of their 'brethren' if such sacrifice in turn protects their own position. Both often cause a great deal of damage in the process of exercising their real or imagined power. Neither appears willing to allow secret ballot when voting; and neither appears to be above twisting the truth or using strong arm tactics to see their ends met.

There is a difference however.  Unions at least, only charge their members dues, and do not insist on all of us paying for their internal elections.

How else am I to view the coming 2012 primary season?  While we are told that this is simply the process of picking presidential election contenders, the truth of the matter is that it's no more or less than picking representatives of the two major political parties. As much as members would like us to believe that they are a part of the government, they aren't.  Therefore the picking of their representatives for a political contest is their own responsibility.  Yet over the years, voters in states across the country have become convinced that it is the responsibility of EVERY TAXPAYER to foot the bill for a part of internal party politics.

Argue if you will that the primary process is necessary, such arguments do not make the process of billing the taxpayer for it any less egregious and unfair.  How can it be unfair you say, when all allowed to vote?  Really?  Try voting in a Republican or Democratic primary in many of these contests if you are a registered Libertarian or Independent.  In spite of the fact that all of us are paying for this process, many of us (in what should be considered an obvious case of voter disenfranchisement) will not be allowed to participate, since we haven't joined one of the two big clubs.

Of course we are told that if such restrictions aren't imposed, that members of opposing parties will sabotage elections.  I'm sure that those attempting to enforce 'Jim Crow Laws' had similar defenses used in justification for their deplorable behavior in restricting the right of a citizen to vote in the 19th and 20th centuries.  The possibility of misuse of the right to vote however, has never been seen as legal justification to restrict its exercise.  If the concern for abuse is so great, why not let each voter select a representative from each major political party and let such potential damage (and benefit) be shared equally?  This at the very least, might produce candidates that represent the views of the majority of those exercising the right to vote in such events, rather than the majority of those supporting the political party in question.

Ah, but while such a revision to the process might better serve the people footing the bill, it does not serve the greater goals of the parties themselves.  Apparently Republicans and Democrats do not want the opinions of every citizens (much as they need them in general elections), only those 'loyal to the party'. Well I'm sick of it; and I'm going to keep bringing this up until somebody starts paying some attention to what's going on.  Since it seems that the only way to get attention for an evil in this country (real or perceived) is to complain about it constantly until someone finally does something about it to shut you up, I am going to do so.

After all, it's not as if I haven't earned the right to do so.  If you counted up all of my taxes wasted in the name of Democratic and Republican primaries, you could certainly say that I've paid my dues ...



Roland Hansen said...

What is your perspective on Instant-runoff voting (IRV), aka preferential voting, the alternative vote, and ranked choice voting?

Timothy W Higgins said...


While the IRV brings an interesting perspective to the voting process and I know is used in some parts of the US, I for one, am not sure that I'm ready to throw out the Electoral College instituted by the Founding Fathers as part of the Constitution. Their ideas of the separation and balance of power and limited government (when followed) still appear valid to me.

Political Parties however, as they now exist in the United States, are not part of the design of government. Their cycle of creation and decline long seemed to prove it. Stagnation where such change used to occur now seems apparent, as does the attempt (largely successful) to maintain power firmly within the grasp of these two organizations.

While there may be some benefit to them in forming voting coalitions, there is no Constitutional of legal justification for taxpayer funding of their internal functions.