Saturday, August 06, 2005

Welcome to the Indie Blog! My name is Dennis Sherrard and I've decided to try my hand at posting and reading commentary from people like me who are "sick to the point of projectile vomiting" about our political environment today.

I'm excited about this opportunity to share views and read different opinions about what's happening in today's political climate.

First some ground rules. Anyone is welcome to the Indies Are Us Blog. It's not exclusive except for one thing: PLEASE try and keep some level of decorum when posting. No F-bombs, or suggestions of things better left to the Kama Sutra with regard to telling people what to do with themselves and no belittling other people's opinions (disagree mightily if you like with anyone), but let's try an raise the level of debate here in this little corner of the Cyber-Universe.

That's it! NO other rules are required.

A bit about myself for full -disclosure re: political bent. I'm a liberal. I'm a card carrying member of the ACLU, a member of Amnesty International and typically believe in the idea of governmental activism to support the common good. I've traditionally voted with the Democrats and continue to believe that the fundamental purpose of government is to help us achieve what the Founder's described as Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Well, with that out of the way, let me tell you why I'm no longer a member of the Democratic Party. I used to be of the opinion that political parties were generally focused on improving things for us average citizens. If you are a Republican, then the GOP would do this for you by getting government off your back and championing the individual to achieve their goals through good ole' hard work. Getting government out of the way and letting Americans get on with their lives was a Republican principal and one I admire very much. Democrats on the other hand believed much the same except with a view that the playing field has never been exactly level. Given both parties belief in the concept of fairness, the Democratic Party focused on lifting those up who needed a hand. By virtue of helping others who needed the help, the entire country would prosper. This is also a principal I admire very much. In the best examples of both parties, whether it is Reagan or Eisenhower or Teddy Roosevelt on the Republican side, or Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy or Bill Clinton on the Democratic side, there is much to admire from both parties. I used to believe that we weren't so much focused on taking shots at each other as genuinely disagreeing on how to achieve noble and purposeful causes.

I've come to the conclusion however that in the last twenty years or so, the parties are so interested in winning and expansion of their power that the idea of America as a "Shining City on A Hill" that President Reagan was fond of speaking of is lost in both parties. Each have developed well-oiled attack machines that will like sharks, smell blood in the water and then will descend in a frenzy of lies and smears to tear their opponents to shreds. This is not the political system that I want. President Clinton once described the "Politics of Personal Destruction", and indeed, it has become a blood sport. The talking heads on CNN, Fox News and other media outlets delight in bringing you the latest scandal. The irresponsible reporting of President Bush's and Senator Kerry's military records in the last election was a masterpiece of despicable behavior that was fueled by both parties. It is high-time we tried something new in the field of political debate. I know, issue debates are boring, and certainly not attention grabbers like presidents getting "serviced" by interns, or presidents that used to be coke-heads in their youth. But, I ask you, does that kind of reporting really help America move forward? Some people want to blame the media for this. I blame the political parties. The Democrats and Republicans have each pumped millions of dollars into attempting to smear each other and very little into attempting to educate Americans into making sound decisions about who will represent us in Washington.

Therefore, I've had enough. I want to see an independent voice come in from the wilderness that focuses on how we can be better to ourselves, our neighbors and our environment. Let's find a way to change the course of debate from destruction to construction. Here's a new idea, let's try and find a way to listen to the other guy and consider that they may be right sometimes and that it is not a betrayal to your beliefs or principles to agree with them every so often. At the same time, let's pull the blinders off and realize that there is an enormous need for cleaning our own houses. While not traditionally religious, I cherish the scripture where Christ says "Ye without sin cast the first stone".

Let us demand from those who we elect to represent our wishes that they debate honorably, and that the best idea rules the day. It should not the best funded or the most cleverly packaged idea that wins. It should be the best idea period with "best" meaning the idea is good for all Americans. Thomas Paine wrote a pamphlet during the infancy of this great country called "Common Sense". Let us look at our country through those eyes. How do we apply a common sense approach towards improving our situation and making our legacy to our children one that is held up in honor?

I have serious issues with the attempts of both parties to vilify the other. Liberals are not so different from Conservatives that we don't worship our creator or love our families. Conservatives are not so different from Liberals that they don't enjoy freedom, the right to privacy and the idea that a helping hand is sometimes needed. To the political parties, this is heresy. Each would have you believe that if you are a member of the other party, then you are in league with the devil. This is absolute balderdash.

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.

Remember this line? I do. I typed it over and over again in typing class a hundred years ago in high school. It is a phrase burned into my memory and more true today than at any other time. It is time for us, you and me to answer that call for help and begin to live up to our responsibility of being a part of the greatest political experiment ever designed. We have, for the most part boiled down our involvement in government to 30 second sound bites during an election year and perhaps 1-2 hours of time voting every two to four years. This behavior is what the parties love. They want us to be complacent and ignorant. They want to use fear, innuendo and character assassination to achieve their goals. Let us turn the tide on these nefarious organizations. Let us begin to raise a voice of independence that says "No, we aren't going to buy the idea that the other is totally wrong and you are totally right. Talk to us like intelligent people. Give us the facts. We can make sound decisions."

Independence is answer. Let's start sending more people like Bernie Sanders, the independent congressmen from Vermont to our government to represent us. We'll be a better nation for it.

So, that's it for now. Welcome to my blog. I really want to hear your opinions. Over the course of this blog's existence, I'll post on specific issues and want to hear replies, both in concurrence and disagreement of my opinions. We'll have some fun and maybe we'll all learn something together.

Best regards,

Dennis

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