The New York Times columnist David Brooks’s passionate call for a third party reflects his epiphany of which he speaks and writes frequently. I don’t recall the catalyst for his rebirth, but he describes the process in his 2015 book “The Road to Character” in which he claims to have seen the light that gave him greater depth and understanding.
Regardless of the spark that ignited his purported greater vision, the result, however, is based on a myopic view of today’s America.
Despite his hope that a new more inclusive third party would be the foundation for a political and cultural renaissance in America, it really would serve only to provide refuge for a third segment of society—further segregating an already too divided nation.
Furthermore, a third party would be led by yet another cabal of political elites as much removed from the sentiment and concerns of Americans as are our current crop of politicians occupying both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
Today’s election will produce no better leaders in the White House nor representatives in the House and Senate. Many of the existing miscreants will be returned by voters who mistakenly cling to the illusion their representatives are good, but the other members of Congress and the President are bad.
That is the ignorance of today’s electorate. A misguided belief that the other side of the political divide is the enemy. A third party—no matter how attractive the prospect—would be just as incapable of breaking our current partisan gridlock. In fact, a third party would further exacerbate our national impotence.
A critical examination of multiparty nations with their parliamentary infighting, jockeying for influence and the inevitable weak coalition governments, should be sufficient to discourage anyone from wishing such an incompetent congregation on Capitol Hill.
A better system would be the return to true citizen lawmakers. We should vote out our current congressional delegations. They are really only interested reelection and lifetime jobs at taxpayers’ expense.
Instead we should draft the best non-political leaders from each state—persons who have no political aspirations, but have demonstrated the ability to accomplish projects in their own fields of expertise.
These folks would gather in Washington with a single purpose. To determine the key problems facing the nation and how to fix them. The citizen delegates would have no allegiance to big money donors. They would be resistant to the seduction of lobbyists. They would be anxious to return home so would act quickly, boldly and decisively. And worry not one iota about infuriating people by doing the right thing.
True citizen legislators are required. Our friends and neighbors who have earned our trust here at home and who have no party loyalty. They would be free to sweep away the sclerotic ideology that has paralyzed Washington far too long.
This is a better solution that a third political party that would further divide the nation rather than unite it.
Of course, it won’t happen this year. After today we’ll be stuck with another round of partisan bickering from intransigent representatives intent on obstructing any meaningful proposal that would advance the nation. It’s easier to block change that to create it. That’s why we have the mess we’re in. It’s the pathetic substandard work performed by both parties.
A third party won’t fix this paralysis. Citizen representatives could.