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Hansen: Politics without parties is more fun

September 06, 2012|By David Hansen

In my lifetime, I have voted Republican, Democratic, Independent, Libertarian, Green and Socialist.

How many times did I vote for the winner? About two.

But I was happy with the votes because I always tried to pick the candidate who I felt had it right, regardless of whether they could win or not.

The point is, I believe we would be better off without partisan politics. If we took the local example and made everything non-partisan, we could approach the issues or candidates on their own merits, instead of simply adopting the force-fed partisan position.

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People would have to actually read the ballot.

Issues would be better explained with facts.

Believe it or not, we would have to vote for ourselves — the horror.

That's why local elections are more fun and empowering. Can you still tell whether a candidate running for the City Council is a Democrat or Republican? Usually, but not always.

The obvious way you can tell is by the endorsements. Like high school, we still have cliques in life. You're either friends with the jocks or the chess club — rarely both.

If someone enjoys VIP happy hour with the Chamber of Commerce and their opponent rides a bike to work and drinks wheat grass, I'm sure you can guess which one wears blue pajamas.

By contrast, the national political machine has gotten so out of hand that no one has to evaluate the issues at all.

You can sign up for position e-cards. They will tell you which way to vote on every issue, almost down to a Google Street View level. Click and drag and pull the lever.

Why even vote at all — just have the appropriate colored chip inserted into your forehead. It will automatically register your party affiliation whenever needed and log your preset votes, like an electronic voting cookie.

It's no secret that the number of red and blue voters largely establishes the likelihood for the outcome. In other words, there is a known amount of each color, so it's the "sway" voters who can decide.

What is funny to me is that when you mix red and blue you get purple.

The undecided, the Independents, the Libertarians and all the other purple people get to sash-sway themselves around every four years.

In local elections, we are all purple, at least in theory.

We have to elect the person to represent us who has done the hard work, learned the real issues and can explain them in clear terms.

Who doesn't resort to glib, empty slogans.

Who suggests solutions because they live with the problems.

They are not carpetbaggers.

They are not seeking a political career path.

They are not friending you on Facebook because they want 5 billion "likes."

We need more real people solving real problems.

The idea of abolishing the dominant two-party political system is not new, but it sure is increasingly attractive.

To be honest, I've grown weary of the four-year hate cycle.

If people spent more time suggesting ideas instead of throwing colored bricks, we could get more done because we would engage in more dialogue.

Henry Adams once said, "Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds."

Personally, I will stick to following local issues, where I feel I can make more of an impact, rather than enter the national cafeteria food fight. It's messy and juvenile.

Instead, I will proudly wear my purple shirt on election day.

And probably vote for a loser.

DAVID HANSEN is a writer and Laguna Beach resident. He can be reached at davidhansen@yahoo.com.

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