My Dream Third Party

Erni Vales

One of the odd experiences of growing older is that you see your age group influence different aspects of culture as it passes through stages of life. I remember when I was a child in the 80’s, I instinctively hated the the tight polo shirts with goofy wide horizontal stripes that our parents dressed us all in, but there was nothing else to wear at that time. As I entered my teens, however, suddenly there was a new style of clothing in all the stores –baggy and comfortable, loose and grungy. It was like finding something I never knew I had been missing.

As the years have passed, I’ve seen my own tastes move in and out of the pop charts, through the cineplexes and across the bookshelves. More recently, and perhaps more significantly, what once seemed like my own private and isolated obsessions have begun to reshape the larger social climate and conversation –urbanism, environmentalism, local restaurants and businesses, healthy foods, cultural diversity and an end to high-stakes educational testing. It turns out that all along there were innumerable people who felt as I do, we just weren’t in a position to be heard before. It is for that reason that although I have never felt that my positions and values were reflected by any of the major political parties that I have faith that now, in the wake of the implosion of the G.O.P. and the internal revolution of the Democrats, a new party might emerge from the ashes to advocate for what I believe.

I do want to make it clear that I am voting for Hilary Clinton in this election, and that I strongly urge all of my readers to do the same. The danger that Trump represents to our nation and the world is not overstated. But I can easily see this being the last vote I ever give either the Republicans or the Democrats.

Of the current parties, my closest match is the Greens, which is my official registration. But there are places where the Greens and I diverge. In fact my positions are a mix of what are currently considered “liberal” and “conservative” positions. Some are held by the Republicans, some by the Democrats, and far too many by neither. So, without further preamble, here are the positions of my dream party.

ENVIRONMENT – I not only think Climate Change is the central crisis of our times, and must be addressed immediately, I also believe that the environment should be one of our top priorities, outside of climate change. This matches the position of the Greens. The Democrats pay lip service to this issue, but haven’t done much. The Republicans are on the opposite side. However, a growing number of conservative Christian evangelicals are also taking this stance, as is the Pope.

LIFE – This is the biggest disconnect for me with the traditional parties. I’ve always been pro-life, but I can’t agree with either party’s stance. In my view, a consistent pro-life position is anti-abortion, anti-gun, anti-war and anti-death-penalty. I’m not generally in favor of abortion prohibition –instead, I think we should promote preventative birth control, adoption, and better sexual education, as the most effective ways to actually reduce incidence of abortions. I am not anti-sex, which appears to be the underlying agenda of a significant portion of the traditional pro-life movement. The closest existing group to this position is the progressive Catholics. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats nor any of the third parties take a consistent pro-life stance.

SOCIAL JUSTICE – I believe social justice, and issues of equity for the poor and oppressed should be a priority. This matches the Greens, the progressive Catholics and to a lesser extent, the Democrats. There is some support for this stance among some conservative Christian evangelicals.

SEXUALITY – I believe that sexuality is a private matter, that the civil rights of all citizens should be protected, regardless of sexual orientation, and beyond that the government should stay out of it, and that it should not be politicized. This is essentially a libertarian position.

RELIGION – As a person of faith, it is important to me that religion be treated with respect. However, I also believe in and value the separation of church and state, which, after all, is a Biblical principle. History has shown that theocracies are not actually supports to good religion, and can often be the converse. I don’t believe all religions are equal or the same, but I do believe in people of all religions coming together in peace and mutual respect. I view the Democrats as devaluing religion, and the Republicans as hypocritically exploiting it. If there is a political party out there that actually respects religion, I’d really like to see it.

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