Independents Selling Themselves, And The Nation, Short.

For most of my adult life, I was an independent voter. Even though I never failed to vote, I disdained much of the political process. I told myself that both the Democratic and Republican parties were flawed; that their goals didn’t reflect those of the majority of Americans. The few times I had become involved in creating advertising for candidates, I was horrified by the win-at-any-cost mentality of their campaign staffs.

In theory, I relished the ability to vote in either primary and to vote for candidates of either party. In practice, I was a reliable voter for Democrats, although I often wished they had chosen candidates who better reflected my political views; those of a social liberal and a fiscal conservative. Moreover, I told myself that, by being an independent, I could remain above the ugliness that is American politics.

When I moved to Arizona that changed.

You see, several years earlier, I came to the realization that it was unlikely that I would ever vote for a Republican again – any Republican. So when I was asked to fill out my voter registration form, I marked the box indicating I wished to become a registered Democrat. But it was only when I was asked to actively participate in a local unit of the Democratic Party that I realized that my previous Independent status was more a matter of laziness than of principle.

By registering as an Independent, I didn’t have to actively participate in the political process. Certainly, I voted, but I didn’t have to help create a party platform. I didn’t have to go to party meetings. I didn’t have to help register new voters. I didn’t have to help select candidates. I didn’t have to help candidates raise money for their campaigns. I didn’t have to place yard signs and pass out literature for candidates. I didn’t have to canvas door-to-door. I didn’t have to vote in primaries. I didn’t have to call potential voters.  And I didn’t have to help turn out the vote.

I tell my story only because I think our nation deserves better than those who refuse to actively participate in the political process. It deserves better than a bunch of people sitting on the sidelines all the while complaining about the parties and their candidates. If you truly care about your country and its future, you should register with a political party and get involved. Voting alone is not enough.