Later today I will be driving to Austin to file the paperwork to form the SAM Party of Texas. I will serve as its founding state party chair. The new party will be associated with national SAM Party (Serve America Movement).
Those of you who know me, or regularly read my posts, know that I have long been concerned about the state of civic life at all levels of government. Poll after poll shows that neither the Democratic nor the Republican parties represent a large swath of voters in the middle of the political spectrum. In a recent poll in Texas, 52% of voters described themselves as moderate or only slightly liberal/slightly conversative. But the parties have sorted themselves into increasingly extreme political corners which do not represent more moderate voters.
In moving to the extremes, they have disparaged those of us who do not blindly accept their ideologies as being RINOs or DINOs or lacking convictions. To the contrary, we simply chose to think for ourselves.
And most Americans, including your correspondent, do not feel the need to denigrate the intelligence, goodwill or patriotism of those who may hold opinions different from their own. I have always agreed with the French philosopher, Michel de Montaigne, who said, “There is no conversation more boring than the one where everybody agrees.”
We have been brainwashed to believe that political parties must be based on ideology. But it is only on the ideological extremes that everyone agrees. Those of us in the “messy middle” might be on one side of the ideological spectrum on one issue but on the opposite on a different issue. Indeed, my life experiences have taught me that the truth about, and the solution for, most problems lie somewhere in the middle.
That is not to say that those of us who do not subscribe to political extremism do not believe in certain immutable principles – transparency, accountability, fair elections, respect for individual rights, honest fact-finding, and above all, civility. I am embarrassed by the vitriol and name-calling that passes for political debate today. I refuse to accept behavior from our elected officials that none of us would tolerate from our children.
I also value pragmatism over ideology and do not believe that compromise is a dirty word. Compromise made the very founding of our great republic possible. Compromise is a necessary element of any healthy relationship whether that is with our family, our friends, or our fellow countrymen.
There are those who will say that a third party cannot succeed. I say that a third party must succeed. Because candidates of the two incumbent parties have been reduced to pandering to their ideological bases to win their respective primaries, neither is offering solutions to address the very real challenges facing our country today. That must change.
For some time now, voters have not been offered an electoral option that is not teetering on the left or right edge of the political spectrum. And they have certainly not had a party like SAM that refuses to be defined by an outdated world view that sees every issue on a one-dimensional ideological line. I believe that the American people and Texans are ready for some civility, pragmatism, common sense, and truth-telling. I certainly am. I hope you feel the same and will join me in building a new kind of political party.