THE ROLE OF THE INDEPENDENT

November 26, 2007 on 1:12 am

The greatest challenge facing a Web site for political Independents is separating it from the idea of an “independent party.” Can an organization in the political realm not have a political agenda? And, as for IDn, claiming it is a media company isn’t much use when so many see “the media” itself as biased beyond redemption.

IDn, though, is not a political party. It can’t be for the simple reason of the community it serves: the politically independent. And what distinguishes this community? Perhaps it’s a commonality in the manner in which those in it engage in the political process. Where those self-identifying as of one party or another participate in the context of a group with a common tradition, agenda and goals, the Independent participates apart from party identity, platform and structure. Where the former will vote largely on the basis of party identity, the latter votes on issue and candidate.

Moreover, Independents come in a variety of flavors. For some, there is a simple disinclination to the political realm, which in its increasing complexity only further challenges them. Another flavor of Independent are those who are politically inclined and engage actively, but just aren’t the joining type. Then, there are those between parties who have been Republicans or Democrats, but for one reason or another they no longer identify with either. Finally, there are those who vote, but distrust the system and most, if not all, in it.

IDn was founded as a media service for these “flavors” and others who choose to stand apart from partisan politics — but still insist on participating in the political process.  Indeed, it is in being an informational and service resource to the Independent community as standing apart that IDn will succeed or fail. The purpose of this article, however, is not IDn’s prospects, but to make clear what an Independent is, and the Independent’s role in the process.

While standing apart from the party system, Independents stand forward and vote. And, in this sense, they can play the role of tester. This is in no way to claim a higher station for the Independent. Not at all. It is to recognize that coming to a common will and direction in a democracy requires the accumulation of values and views through the mechanism of political parties. It is also to recognize that these parties, as with all things political, are vulnerable to arrogance, excess, collective ignorance and demagoguery.

It is by standing apart from all parties that the Independent voter can provide a perspective not likely to be found in quantity in any one of them; i.e., objectivity. The simple genius of democracy done right is the appreciation and incorporation of the collective wisdom and common sense of which the citizenry of the day is capable, both partisan and Independent. I don’t expect ever to live in a perfect world. But, by participating in the political process as an Independent, I fully expect to do my part in the making of a better one.

 

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