By: Charles von Bose
Politics in the United States has probably never really lived up to the rich ideals that we associate with our founders. Almost 80 years ago my Great-Grandfather was a Republican peanut farmer around San Antonio, which was then dominated by the Democratic Party.
Rich farmers would bus Mexican immigrant workers into the polls on Election day, give them a paid day off, and lunch would be sponsored by the Democratic Party. And it was really a party. They’d all go vote with a wink and a nudge, and then go back to the farms the next day. My Great-Grandfather decided that he was going to shake things up a little. He got his neighbor, a friend who was Hispanic, to run under the Republican platform. He started talking to these workers, helping them realize that their lives could change for the better if the elected someone who truly represented them and their interests, rather than trading their votes for one day of fun every other year.
Well, my great-grandpa’s friend had his life and children threatened, he withdrew from the election, and suddenly the county decided that peanuts were being overproduced and you needed a county permit to be able to sell them. And that was that. The establishment quickly closed ranks to serve the needs of the party elite rather than trying to actually represent the people.
I look around our country today and I see a government that has stopped serving the needs of the people. We have been divided into camps, pitting neighbors against each other. Our representatives seem to spend much of their time pandering to the crowd, providing entertainment but not much governance. They are repeating the same pattern they used 80 years ago on a national scale, convincing people that all they should expect from government is token representation while those in power manipulate the system to benefit themselves. According to our federal law, Congress is in charge of finances for our country.
The US congress has not passed a budget on time since 1998. In that time I graduated high school, finished college, graduated medical school, finished medical residency, and have been a practicing physician for 4 years! Millions of my fellow citizens have been making similar progress in their lives. Our companies have developed world changing products. The people in our country have worked hard and prospered. And yet our government continues to fail us as the two parties in power create laws that stifle competition in government, whip up outrage both real and fake, and then blame the other side for the failure to pass meaningful legislation. They repeat that if we would only give their side a few more votes then they could really get things done, all the while avoiding the dialogue and compromise that our founding fathers saw as essential to a government by the people and for the people.
It does not have to be this way. We, the people, have the ability to change the pattern. A third party has emerged in Utah, championing real, lasting, needed change to our political process. The United Utah Party supports congressional term limits, both on the state and national level. This is a hugely popular idea among citizens, that doesn’t get a lot of traction in the two major parties. There’s been talk of a constitutional amendment forcing term limits. I’m not in favor of that at all. We have the ability to vote people out of office if they’ve been there too long. I don’t want congressmen and women who don’t know what it’s like to live life in our capitalist society. I don’t want them to be in office so long that they lose the skills to be able to hold a normal job. I want the offices and small businesses of America peppered with certificates or even plaques proudly displaying that someone is an ex-congressman. I’m hereby committing to never vote for someone who has been in a congressional office for more than 8 years. If others join me, then we won’t need a restrictive amendment.
I’ve spent many hours engaged in the political process over the last 2 years, both locally and nationally. I believe that supporting an intentionally moderate third party is the fastest way to change the government and show the two major parties that they can’t take our votes for granted any longer. I understand that not everyone will feel that way, but I would encourage even those who want to stay within their current party to consider pushing for reforms internally, and at least consider voting for someone outside of the party who would represent the interests and ideals of citizens in their district. If the Republican and Democratic parties realize that they will lose votes if they keep nominating people who are not actually doing their jobs, they will stop.
The United Utah Party supports other reforms as well. My favorite is Ranked List Voting. If you haven’t heard of it I’d encourage you to look into it. It would allow citizens a greater voice in their representation and end the two party monopoly in politics, forcing them to listen to the voices of the people.
I am in the 1st District, and I will be voting for Eric Eliason for Congress this fall. He is legitimately smart and a successful businessman who is one of us and knows the concerns of the good people in his district. I’ve spoken with him at length on several occasions. He is willing to compromise and work and teach and learn from the other elected officials in Washington to create good laws to benefit our country. He is not a polished, major party candidate. In all honesty, if the party succeeds, it may never have the polished gleam that the current parties have honed. I’m actually tired of the glitz and distraction. It has gotten me a congress that has failed in its major responsibilities for literally my entire adult life. Instead I’m looking for a candidate who will hopefully stand out the way my grandpa’s friend might have once stood out, as a neighbor with integrity, who is willing to sacrifice to represent their communities to the country, and build a better future for all of us.