Independents are the largest political bloc in the US, but our views occupy only a small part of the national conversation.
Why? Because cable news and the blogosphere—the principal public outlets for political discourse in this country—are sharply polarized between left and right.
Partisan audiences want red meat, and hosts are happy to throw it their way, boosting ratings and page views but making it harder for us all to move forward.
Democrats and Republicans cling to tribal identities, labeling the others as enemies rather than partners in solving problems. Each has completely different definitions of what those problems are.
That may be why the last 20 years of our politics has been riven by manufactured controversies that ignite partisan passions but don’t address the real issues.
The truly difficult problems—America’s role as a great power, how to thrive economically in a much more competitive world, and how much government do we really want and can we really afford—will be what define the next two decades of our politics and may well make or break us.
Both Democrats and Republicans have failed to answer these questions convincingly. Democrats are stuck in a reflexive welfare statism and knee-jerk cynicism aboutAmerica’s role in the broader world.
Republicans still have not acknowledged the decisive failures of social conservatism, neoconservative military adventurism, and supply-side economics.
Neither party has a workable governing philosophy for the 21st century.
Independents understand this, but there are as many independent views as there are independent voters. We range from independent-minded Democrats and Republicans to people who don’t register as either to those that don’t even vote. Mobilizing independents is truly like herding cats.
And yet we all share certain concerns about critical issues and a belief that we need to talk and, yes, compromise to make real progress.
I’m an award-winning business and financial journalist who has been deeply concerned about the challenges facing our country for some time.
I am also an independent who has voted for about as many Republicans as Democrats in the last 20 years. I have never contributed to a political campaign or a political action committee. This blog will not formally endorse candidates, although I will certainly have strong opinions about them, and I hope you will, too.
I don’t live in Washington, DC, and I’m not preoccupied with what the insiders say. Much Beltway media coverage is all about horse races and who’s up and who’s down today, not about what really affects people’s lives. I would rather post fewer items a day than fill this blog with pointless discussions about the “candidacies” of various pretenders and pseudo-celebrities. You can get that at dozens of other sites.
No, The Independent Agenda will be focused on solutions to America’s real problems. I’ll certainly express my views, but I’d like this to be interactive from the get-go. So, I don’t want your “input”; I want your participation in starting a conversation and building a real community of independent-minded citizens who will often disagree, but will remain civil and respectful of our differing opinions.
Maybe together we can help break the iron grip of the ideologues and the special interests and truly make this country great again for us and our children.
Howard R. Gold
Founder and Blogger in Chief
The Independent Agenda
Political Commentary for Reasonable People R