Monday, November 5, 2012

Obama vs Romney: Why We Need a Centrist Party

This presidential election offers America two possible paths: the road to serfdom or the road to plutocracy.

That at least is the fear that Obama and Romney spark in their opponents... and yes, the risk really is there.

For Obama, it is a textbook case: the path he is on -- bigger government programs, bigger government debt -- are possibly the early stages of the sort of statism that was described by von Hayek in The Road to Serfdom.  His policies certainly seem to lead to widespread unemployment, government dependency and European style economic anemia.

For Romney, the government-by-and-for-the-rich suspicion is warranted by the candidate's famous inconsistency, by his lack of the common touch and by the huge amounts of money he has raised from extremely wealthy individuals... which leads to a suspicion that his real core principle is to say whatever gets him elected, and that he has a class interest in protecting and expanding the power and privilege of the extremely rich.

Not a great choice for the apprehensive centrist.

Personally I keep hoping for a better choice, for a centrist candidate and party that manages to blend concerns for liberty, humanity, the environment and fiscal responsibility better than either candidate or party are doing now.  I believe there are a huge number of Americans who would support a party that was fiscally conservative but socially liberal, that addressed problems like the environment and health care with better more efficient solutions that work well, take care of everyone's needs, but keep government small and local, and do not bust the bank.

That third party may not presently exist.  But it should.

I don't want to vote for Obama or Romney.  I want a better choice.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Centrists Worth Supporting!

John Avalon has a great article about centrist candidates worth supporting.

But let's put our finger on the crux of the problem, the real reason why centrists are better for the country than conservatives or liberals: between them, right and left, Republicans and Democrats, have ripped the Declaration of Independence in half.  The right has grabbed the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as its rallying cry, the left has grabbed the appeal to justice, fairness and equality.  The two party system creates a standoff: it's liberty vs. humanity.  

But America needs ALL these founding values if it is to thrive and survive as the founders intended.  Only Centrists care about these values equally. They put humpty-dumpty back together again.

All these guys really should get together and form the American Centrist Party, and expose Republicans and Democrats for the unbalanced extremists they are.

Also, while reading up on centrism, David Brooks has a great article about what it takes to lead and make laws that win support across party lines .

CNN iReporters describe why they call themselves "independent."

How About a NYC CleanUp Marathon?

Instead of just canceling the NYC Marathon as he just did this afternoon amidst a growing chorus of criticism, Mayor Bloomberg should seize the opportunity to declare a "New York City CleanUp Marathon."

All the Marathoners have made plans to come here anyway.  And now they suddenly have a free Sunday on their hands.  So why not just host a huge Clean Up Party on Sunday instead?

Heck, we have 35,000 superfit runner jocks hanging around doing nothing, plus 12,000 well-organized volunteers, and another 2 million spectators.  Add on to two-thousand overtime police offices assigned to the Marathon. Why not repurpose that whole efforts to aiding the folks in Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn and other stricken communities?

What our hurricane victims really need is a thousands or millions of fit, well-organized, disciplined folks, with a combined life experience of some 50 million years, coming to their destroyed homes and saying: "How can we help?  What can we do?  Clear that debris?  No problem.  Let's go, guys, heave-ho!"

That's how it is done.  I know.  Because I was a 9/11 guerilla volunteer, and that is how we did it.  Helping is not rocket science.  You just need to find out what is needed, and get the job done.

9/11 and Katrina proved that guerrilla volunteers fix problems fast, and and get in where help is needed most, while rule-bound organizations like the Red Cross and FEMA are generally slow to fix immediate problems, and too rule-bound to be flexible.  That is why guerilla volunteers were among the  most important first responders on 9/11, and why their help is needed now.

Ever since 10,000 Athenian private citizens defeated and army of well over 100,000 invaders, the name Marathon has been synonymous with heroes, and volunteer heroes, at that.  We need those heroes now.  And thank God, we have them here, right now, when we need them.

All the Mayor needs to do is give them a clear invitation to help, and make sure the police help, and do not hinder, the efforts of hordes of private volunteers.