Politics: Why It's Vital to Vote for Your Party

Exercise Your Right to Vote!

President John F. Kennedy

President John F. Kennedy, Democrat
President John F. Kennedy, Democrat

President Dwight D. Eisenhower

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Republican
President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Republican

"I don't belong to any political party; I'm Independent. I vote for the best man."

Chances are, like me, you've heard this statement from friends and foes alike on many occasions -- often from the same political pundits who favor term limits for Congress.

Americans have always been proud of their independent spirit, and few will hold still for anyone who tries to tell them what to think or how to vote.

That's admirable. In fact, I'm fiercely independent myself, and I always try to encourage others to stand up for their rights.

Rights Come With Responsibilities

But those rights come with responsibilities, of course. Little is gained by blindly proclaiming one's rights when, at the same time, someone else's rights are being trampled over.

As individuals, we can be as independent as we like but, as the saying goes, no man is an island. When you are dealing with a community of people whether it be a city, state or nation, it is vital that people work together if anything is to be achieved.

Voting for "the best man" instead of a political party has a nice ring to it, true, but what man? If we cast aside parties -- as we've already done to a large extent -- "the best man" may turn out to be dozens if not hundreds of men! Without a sincere effort to reach compromise with millions of people who want to vote for their "best man" -- not yours, -- there's little likelihood of selecting a leader, or representatives, who could govern with the support of the electorate.

Flawed Thinking Creates Havoc

In the United States today, this flawed thinking already has created havoc. The so-called White House Crisis and the current effort to impeach President (Bill) Clinton can be directly attributed to the decline -- and, perhaps, the fall -- of the two-party system.

Third parties and independent voters have been around for a long time, and surely will always be with us, but in the past few decades it has become a badge of honor, of sorts, to dismiss the Democratic and Republican parties. As a result, the parties have lost the very people who helped to moderate the views of the hard-core political ideologues.

The loss of so many of these people has put both parties in the hands of a much smaller, more radical core of party stalwarts who now have far greater power to move the parties to the extremes.

This has occurred to some extent in both the Democratic and Republican parties, but, in the case of the Grand Old Party, has gradually given sway to more right wing extremists than could have been possible only a short time ago.

During the (John F.) Kennedy Administration, for instance, it would have been impossible to impeach a president on the kind of flimsy grounds we see today against Clinton.

Subjective Opinions

Nor could an independent counsel dictate articles of impeachment to Congress rather than do what he was hired to do: Investigate, collect evidence and submit his findings -- not his subjective opinions. Congress, not the investigator, decides what constitutes an impeachable offense.

Not Too Late to Right the Ship

It is not too late for Congress to right the ship. Anti-Clinton conservatives like to cite the Constitution and throw up their hands saying they cannot interfere with the Constitutional process.


All Congress has to do is this: Acknowledge that what has been submitted to Congress by Kenneth Starr does not rise to the level of impeachable offenses, indefinitely adjourn the impeachment hearings -- and move ahead with the country's legitimate business.

I wrote this column as a "My View" for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on Oct. 24, 1998. I now write my views on a wide variety of topics on HubPages. To view my HubPages Profile Click Here

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Comments 25 comments

Hoodala profile image

Hoodala 8 years ago from Mesa

Well spoken as always. Unfortunately the country's policies are being left to extremests on both sides all too frequently these days. And I am afraid with the 2 choices in this election our country will remain in an extremest position. Far left or far right are our two choices.

William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Thanks, Hoodala. The right has taken us so far to the extreme that even the left would have trouble bringing us back to the middle. At least the left is not likely to start any unnecessary wars or damage our reputation abroad any worse than it is now. A move back to the two-party system, which promotes compromise, would be more than welcome.

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ColdWarBaby 8 years ago

The left is already mostly on the right of center. There are vitually no progressives left. Maybe Bernie Sanders from Vermont and maybe Dennis Kucinich. There are no longer even two parties in America.

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 8 years ago

You're on the right track as ususal. I've been a Democrat all my life as were my parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts except for one black sheep aunt. I have only voted for one Republican--William E. Milliken for governor of Michigan. He was a great governor and would have made a good president.

Health Conscious profile image

Health Conscious 8 years ago from South Florida - USA

This post really strengthens my conviction that journalist live to promote controversy.

If anyone wants to know who is responsible for the largest percentage of economic problems look no further than you local journalist.

They have been trying to tear this country apart for so long that they almost succeeded in 2000 but were hampered by other events.

They have finally succeeded in tearing the bond that tragedy formed and have created a massive split.

Everyone else please look beyond the instigators and look deeply - even if you don't agree with the outcome, it won't be the end of the world.

There has never been a better time to live and be alive.

Sure there are obstacles in life but Americans are strong and believing plain crap is stupid. This is true for all sides.

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ColdWarBaby 8 years ago

What the hell does that mean?

compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

I just wish us Brits were more proud of our independent spirit than the Americans and many other countrys for that matter!

Chef Jeff profile image

Chef Jeff 8 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

I agree that we Americans should pay more attention to our own matters.  We have bridges falling down and roads that are nearly impassible in many of our states.  We have disintegrating families, loss of jobs and many other internal threats to our nation and people.

A lot of people in Europe share Kanelbullar's opinion.  Having lived there for a number of years I know that Europe is finally gaining its own identity - not as a bunch of independent nations sharing the same continent - but as a political entity of nations. 

Part of that growth is a reevaluation of the relationship between America and Europe.  With our current jingoistic administration, we are losing the favor of allied nations that were once more closely aligned with us,  These are the very same nations with which we have to also be more closely aligned - unlike the apparent current Bush policy of alienating nations because they don't lock-step with our policies.   

Political alliances are a two-way street, and sayings from Bush and his cronies such as "you either stand with us or against us" did not help our standing amongst nations.

As ColWarBaby has often written, we Americans are losing sight of what our ancestors and the countless generations of immigrants who arrived before and since 1776 wanted out of life.

We do meddle too much, and just for the record, I did not vote for G.W. Bush.  I knew he would lead us into troubles that will have no easy exit.  I believe a Gore presidency would have taken us down a better and less miliraistic path.  I also believe Gore actually won in 2000, and that we, the People, were robbed by the conniving of Bush acolytes who managed to disenfranchise thousands of voters in Florida and elsewhere.

The idea of this hub seems to me to be a rallying cry for those of us who are Independents to back one major party or another, and if I read the author correctly, the Democrats should get our votes.  I would most likely back the Democrats because the core values of that party align closer with my own values.  I would also like to see more input by people who are not of the far left fringe groups.

However, I want Barack Obama to prove to me that he will (unlike most of the others before him) do things that are truly in the national best interest, which include:

Rebuilding America from within,

Getting out of foreign entanglements,

Leaving religion (or chosing not tohave a religion) as a personal choice,

Restoring the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, and

Making us more than merely hopeful that we can do & be better than we are right now.

It was, after, NOT Saddam Hussein who was behind 9-11, and Saddam Hussein was in my opinion only able to stay in power through the covert help from American operatives who saw him as a counter-balance to Iran.

William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

I agree, ColdWarBaby, that there are few true progressives in positions of power today, and Bernie Sanders, not even a Democrat, is a better proponent of Democratic values than most Democrats. Kucinich is not afraid to speak truth to power. The two-party system needs a transfusion, which I hope it gets.

Ralph Deeds, I voted for a Republican once (Rep. Chris Shays, D-4th) and it was the biggest mistake of my life. My "Mea Culpa" hub discusses it in detail. Thanks for your comment.

Health Conscious, people have been blaming the messenger for the world's troubles for centuries. Journalists help maintain our Constitution by putting a bright light on government, which helps keep the politicians honest. Much of the corruption we've seen in recent years has been because the press has largely failed to do their job.

Kanelbullar, I hope and believe that most people around the world recognize the difference between the American people and the Bush Administration. It is said that so many fail to decry the excesses of the Administration, nevertheless I believe a majority of Americans feel the same about our behavior as many non-Americans.

compu-smart, I admire your independent spirit and that of all Brits, and I have since Winston Churchill spoke of your "finest hour," if not before.

We surely should be trying to solve the many problems we have in this country, Chef Jeff, and not go meddling in other country's business -- but, again, that has more to do with the Bush Administration than most Amerians. We need to have a leadership role in improving this world, not in stirring up more trouble. It's impossible for a candidate to "prove" what he'll actually do (remember "Read My Lips" George H.W. Bush? That's precisely why I think it's so important to maintain the two-party system so that when a president is elected he (or she) is beholden to those who put him there. An independent candidate has no such obligation.

Bob 8 years ago

Bill, we agree on one thing. Vote for your party. Of course that's where you and I part company. In you column you mention right wing extremests , but fail to mention those left wing loonies on your side of the fence.

William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Bob, what's a left wing loonie? Left wingers are all reasonable, intelligent, handsome and perceptive.

Bob 8 years ago

Billy , Billy.... That's why you and I get along so well. Oposites attract. LOL

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 8 years ago

I forgot one--Joementum Lieberman when he was running for VP. Here the mistake was Gore's for nominating this two-faced, war-mongering asshole!

William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

You're right, Bob. You and I can get along fine, but I could never say that about George W.

Ralph Deeds, I made the same mistake. I was press secretary for a Congressional candidate at the time and campaigned vigorously for all Democrats as I always do. Who could have known? Certainly not Al Gore.

Chef Jeff profile image

Chef Jeff 8 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

I have come to distrust Lieberman, and now it seems I had good reason to. He will be speaking up for McCain and will be addressing the Republican Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Why doesn't he just switch and get it over with? He's obviously not an Independent anymore, and he gave up on being a Democrat long before 2000.

As for Bush I have a little clock counting down the days & hours until he is officially retired. And I hope then someone will get to the truth about Cheney, Rove and the others and spend as much time ferreting out these guys as they did chasing Slick Willy and Monica.

William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

It's inexplicable to me, Chef Jeff, how Lieberman (or anyone else for that matter) can support the Bush-Cheney-Rove crowd. You've got to think he's looking for a job, but he could have had a significant role in a Democratic administration. I remember Newt Gingrich announcing, when he became Speaker, that he would investigate every little thing the Democrat did. But why won't Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid do the same thing? At the same time they refuse to impeach Bush and Cheney they go along with legislation that allows the illegal war in Iraq to continue until the new administration takes office in January. How misguided is that?

OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 6 years ago

Your opinion on the party versus the best candidate has been proven wrong decade after decade.

2008 was the latest example of voting for party versus best candidate.

I will admit that both parties have selected pitiful candidates that have reduced voting to the lesser of two evils.

That is a party problem and a big reason why there has been no real beneficial congress for decades.

That is beneficial to the needs of the people.

Neither political party that has been in control has had a unified oongress, a congress that carries out the wishes of the people.

The parties use sophisticated computer software to generate talking points for every voting center in the country to make the voters believe that the party understands their local issues and that they will support them. This is just an election talk lie.

The parties and their candidates don't listen to the voters that elected them, they listen to the lobbyists.

If you think that 2010 is a good example of voting for party then you must be sharing a cave with OBL.

William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 6 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Thanks for commenting, OpinionDuck, but past elections prove nothing. Neither do I believe that the Democratic candidates were "pitiful." The problem is that our elections have turned into battles between the rich and powerful(Republicans and right wingers), the wannabe rich (the middle class) and the poor. The Democratic Party, even when elected, has a difficult time accomplishing its goals because too many of its members, especially in the South, are Democrats in name only. Voting for third-party candidates merely takes votes away from the major party candidates.

OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 6 years ago


"but past elections prove nothing."

Past elections prove everything based on the results of Congress and the President. Neither party has accomplished good for the people. They spend their time in office fighting each other instead of fighting for the people. Both parties spent two years focusing on the 2008 election, and during that time the economy went down the tubes. It doesn't matter what President Bush was doing because an effective Congress could have redirected him.

"Neither do I believe that the Democratic candidates were "pitiful."

While that is your opinion, it isn't fact. The fact is that the country is tanking because of all those Democrat candidates getting into office. If you can't agree that the Congress and the President have not done an adequate, much less a good job of restoring the country, then you must be living outside this country.

"The problem is that our elections have turned into battles between the rich and powerful(Republicans and right wingers), the wannabe rich (the middle class) and the poor. The Democratic Party, even when elected, has a difficult time accomplishing its goals because too many of its members, especially in the South, are Democrats in name only. Voting for third-party candidates merely takes votes away from the major party candidates."

Again we disagree, my point is that both parties are the problem. It doesn't matter who in Congress is good or bad if they don't act as a team. A team that is elected for the benefit of the people, the Democrat, Republicans and the Independent voters.

The real problem is that Congress uses the voters and their party loyalty to get into office, but that is the end use for the voter. After the election, they, all of Congress are beholding to and responsive to the big business and its lobbyists.

You are right that currently voting for Independent Candidate is a throw away vote, but that is because of the party loyalists (both parties)contain the majority of the votes in the country.

I did a hub on restructing Congress which focused on the Senate but it is applicable to the House with some modifications. It is fairer and creates more representation for all the voters.

Final note! Remember that the current problems of the economy have been around since the 1970s. They include but are not limited to, oil, energy, SS, Medicare, pollution, and Congress did nothing but increase their government workforce and increase taxes. Even as summer was ending in 2008, Congress and the Presidential Candidates were oblivious to the impending fall of the economy.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 6 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

The left and the right will always fight each other, OpinionDuck, whether you have two political parties or 25. Control of Congress and the country's agenda is at stake -- and that requires a constant battle resulting in the ongoing struggle for re-election. Restructuring Congress won't work as long as we have two competing philosophies of governing. What we really need is an end to greed.

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 6 years ago

I just think there's more important things to do, and more constructive ways to spend time.

William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 6 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Thanks for commenting, kimh039 and for the link, which I enjoyed reading. I understand and appreciate the sentiment you express about politics. Nevertheless, the world continues to go 'round and the tug-of-war between liberals and conservatives is no game. Elections matter, as the saying goes, and whatever you think of them political parties matter, too. Even one single solitary vote on the U.S. Supreme Court can wipe out your vote and put corporate opinion in the driver's seat in deciding who runs the country. It's not a game that you can quit when you decide you've had enough, and there's not too many more important to this country and the world than keeping political power in the hands of citizens.

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 6 years ago

Voting can be done quietly and privately and debating can be done in a civil and respectful manner. There's no need to resort to name calling, character attacking, yelling, and other aggressive forms of discourse. It's harmful to those who engage and those who observe. It's immature and it needs to stop. It would be better if it were a game: then there could be referees, penalties, rules, safety equipment, and being banned from the Hall of Fame for deplorable conduct. Thanks for listening and checking out my link. I appreciate it William, and look forward to reading more of your articles.

William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 6 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

I certainly would like to see a more civil and respectful debate on the issues of the day, kimh039. I agree that what is going on now is deplorable. I don't think the present condition will be alleviated, however, until money is taken out of the equation. Spending by national candidates is becoming absurd. It must be severely curtailed -- and yet the U.S. Supreme Court has just opened the huge treasuries of the world's largest corporations by allowing them to spend without limit to influence our elections. Silence on this issue is not an option if our democratic republic is to survive.

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