It is approximately 1,052 miles from Independence to Washington, D.C., but as the saying goes, “All politics is local.”
While no one asked you your opinion, you probably agree with the latest polls showing disgust with our congressional leaders, including an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll that showed 60 percent of Americans today would vote out every single member of Congress. Yes, that includes your own representatives.
There’s more startling news from a recent Gallup poll. For the first time in Gallup’s history, a majority, 60 percent, of both Democrats and Republicans say a third party is needed and it is not the controversial, radical Tea Party.
I have been advocating a third party as far back as 2006. The issue then was the dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys and so-called voter fraud investigations in the Kansas City area, which have deterred or dissuaded Democrats from voting in recent elections.
In 2007, a USA Today poll found that 58 percent of voters said that both parties were doing such a poor job of running the government and that a third party was needed.
Fast forward to today amid news of sequestration, shutdowns, debt limits and budget battles. My way or the highway seems to be the new norm. Negotiation is now capitulation, and Congress has adopted a famous sports dictum, “Winning isn’t the main thing – it’s the only thing.”
And what about our precious image of a working democracy? Former president Jimmy Carter told USA Today the world is looking at the federal government shutdown and sees “a democracy that's not working,”
Attempts have been made at creating a competitive third party, including the efforts of Texas billionaire Ross Perot, who garnered nearly 19 percent of the vote in the 1992 presidential election.
Creating a “country first” third party would involve many requisites such as a common cause, a doable platform, financing, conscientious leaders, political action committees and millions of grass-root supporters.
The polls indicate that perhaps the times they are a-changing.
A third party, with the overall good of the country as its paramount concern, is obviously needed – and not one with tea bags dangling from hats.
I give you President John Adams’ toast: Independence forever.
Jerry Plantz lives in Lee’s Summit. His website is at www.Jerryplantz.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.