As I reflect on 2011's national and regional challenges, I can't help but put some of the blame on our current lawmakers at the national and state levels. Individually, they seem to be for the most part, good, upstanding citizens. But collectively, they live in a corrosive system designed to turn even the strongest among them from the practice of statesmanship to the depths of partisanship. A few examples:
-- Redistricting debacles, where the good of the region is sacrificed to partisan gerrymandering. See PA and MD for examples from both parties.
-- Budget impasses brought on by partisan posturing. See U.S. Congress.
-- Ever hardening partisan demands to not compromise with the other side while chronic and acute state and national problems continue to plague us.
-- Party-line voting is now the norm and expected.
It's become clear to me that my only recourse is to send a shock to the political system. An action that shakes up the system and demonstrates for all observers that priorities must change. This action must be seen as, not a turn away from any current party in power, but rather a condemnation of the practice of partisanship itself.
So I have decided to declare my independence and, regardless of affiliation, I will vote strictly anti-incumbent. If a candidate now holds any partisan office, I declare my vote for their challenger without exception.
If we are successful in this strategy and incumbents lose their seats in large numbers, I'm convinced that our anti-party message will be loudly received. I am also convinced that if we stick together, we can break free from the evils of partisanship and therefore, I offer the following Declaration.
A Declaration of Independence From Partisan Candidates
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for People to dissolve the political bands which have connected them for far too long to their wayward Lawmakers, and to re-commit to those priorities that put the welfare of the People over the welfare of any political party.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments and their elected Lawmakers are instituted to serve the People, not political parties. That whenever any Form of Government becomes so destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish their services, and to select new Lawmakers who demonstrate the following:
-- To hold the rights, safety and good of the People over the needs of any political party, or even their own elected or appointed offices.
-- To work together in good faith, in a spirit of compromise and collaboration that encourages the broadest, most innovative and most lasting solutions to the myriad difficult problems of the People.
-- To spend substantially more time working for the good of the People than working for their own reelection or any other partisan priority.
-- To draw representative district boundaries for the good of the People living within them and without regard to party priorities, or their own reelections.
-- To ensure that they put their legislative duties and imperatives ahead of any other work and that they vow to complete their official tasks before they adjourn for any reason.
-- To promise to be fully transparent and immediately disclose fully and publicly; any and all meetings with, formal or informal requests from, and any form of resources provided by any person, organization or other group with direct or potential legislative matters before them.
We, therefore, the People of these United States of America, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People, solemnly publish and declare ourselves free from the corrosive power of partisan politics and we pledge to remove all Lawmakers who have not demonstrated that they hold the needs and dreams of the People over the prerogatives of party.
To join the cause, just acknowledge your independence in the comments section.