Political persuasions and the independent

Published 7:31 pm Wednesday, June 9, 2004

By Staff
Lindsey Sherrill
With the many elections-local, state and national-taking place this year, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about my own political stands and beliefs. This is especially important this year as this will be the first presidential election in which I am able to vote.
First of all, let me say that I have never been too fond of the two-party system. I hate the partisanship, the internal strife and the petty rivalries it creates. Yet I've come to accept it as a necessary evil of our system. With that in mind, how do I know whom to support?
As I was recently filling out my voter registration form online, I came to that little blank marked "party." Honestly, I didn't have a clue what to put. So, I did a little studying to read up on our two major political parties.
Do you know what I found out? Exactly what I knew all along-I don't belong in either party! That did it. The little blank space was going to say "independent."
Once again, another reason why I don't like the two-party system. With closed primaries in Alabama and Florida, independents are cut out of many primaries. I know that if I vote for an independent candidate my vote may not really count for much. But if that's the price I have to pay for my political ideologies, so be it. I have tried and tried to box in my political beliefs, to make them fix in the neat Republican and Democratic cookie cutters, but I can't.
I've also tried to dub myself "liberal" or "conservative." That didn't work either. By the definitions I know, a liberal is a) Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry; or b) Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded. A conservative is one who a) favors traditional views and values; b) is moderate; cautious; or c) tends to conserve or preserve. By those definitions I am totally both!
I believe that small government is good government and that states' rights are essential, yet I believe that a strong national government is important. I believe in keeping our defenses strong, yet I disagree with the way the war on terror is being handled. I believe in keeping our citizens safe, but not at the expense of our liberties. I am a feminist, yet pro-life. I oppose gay marriage, but believe in gay rights. I believe in freedom of religion, not from religion, yet I am not necessarily a Roy Moore supporter.
I believe in tax reform, not tax increases. I am a strict constitutionalist, yet believe that there are things that need to be changed. I believe that education must be a top priority, but not necessarily a top responsibility of the national government.
And I don't like Bush or Kerry.
With all that said, perhaps my political beliefs are this: I am not really a Republican or a Democrat though I firmly believe in our democratic republic. Maybe my unique brand of ideology can be dubbed "liberal conservatism." I love the American system and wish to conserve its foundations, yet feel that change is not a bad thing. If that makes me "independent," so be it.
No matter what your own political beliefs, I'd like to encourage you to register and vote in all our elections as they come around. Because that, more than any political belief, is the foundation of our government.
Lindsey Sherril is a Staff Writer for the Atmore Advance.

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