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Can You Resist America's 'Ring of Power?'

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The current state of American politics invites many parallels to literary works: Ibsen and Orwell are two authors that I have recently invoked.

But for those who have sensed a growing shadow of despair, yet keep strong the will to set things right, the works of J.R.R. Tolkien may offer hope.

Two Parties to rule them all, yet One goal defines them; Two Parties to trick them all to think their woes behind them. Pin It

In fairness to Tolkien (and his heirs), the author was a brilliant writer of fiction -- not a political activist. It would be unfair to draw parallels between his books and events that occurred within the author's lifetime (in the foreword to The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien clearly states that any political interprations of the work are invalid).

But life has a way of imitating art, and in the eyes of this author, America is caught in a vicious circle -- a corrupting "ring of power" worthy of satire:

Two Houses for the Elected who carry the pen,

Nine seats for the Appointed whose rule is the end,

One for the Commander in his white house

In the Land of Washington where the Politicians lie.

Two Parties to rule them all, yet One goal defines them,

Two Parties to trick them all to think their woes behind them

In the Land of Washington where the Politicians lie.


In America, it is a near impossibility to elect someone (in a national election) who falls outside of an established political party. Similarly, it is nearly impossible to secure the backing of a political party without large-scale monetary support.

This situation is a duopoly -- a form of oligopoly; and a system that holds power within a tight circle, maximizing profits for the few individuals who are inside the ring. In plainer terms: a revolving door.

Unfortunately, the American public has blindly embraced this system, always blaming the "other" party for the nation's ills. This sad reality is well-captured in a simple editorial cartoon.

Concerning Halflings

Ask yourself this: How many people do you know (especially those over 40 years), who consider themselves part of a political party, yet are willing to admit when the opposing party has a worthy candidate -- or even a worthy idea?

This author is always shocked to see doctors, lawyers and other well-educated folks abandon their individualism to join the crowd -- villainizing people who may share the majority of their personal beliefs, but do not share their party affiliation. The older the voter is, the more galvanized these biases seem to become (to the point where most political discussion is bile and hatred). Sometimes, intelligent people can serve as the most useful idiots.

But if men's minds are weak and corruptible, there is a hope: Halflings.

Halfings look like any other American, but in this context, they are differentiated only by their "short" years. Let's say voters between 18-40 years old. What truly separates this generation from generations past is their access to information. The Internet, specifically communities like Reddit Politics, are like seeing-stones that provide young voters with multiple perspectives, collaboration opportunities and wisdom.

The Cruel Irony

Though young voters and independents are a powerful political force, they don't yet have the numbers to elect a third-party candidate. It's a virtual certainty that the majority of Republicans will vote for the Republican candidate and the majority of Democrats will vote for the Democrat candidate (whomever these persons may be, whatever views these persons may hold). Swing votes carry the ball across the line.

This was certainly the case in the 2008 presidential election, when our current president promised a departure from the ways of old and inspired America's youth to vault him into office. They did.

Alas, the president's administration has embraced the most contemptible aspects of the previous administration: secrecy, hypocrisy, cronyism, injustice, and war. Or, looked at another way, 27 of the 35 articles of impeachment that Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D., Ohio) introduced against President Bush also apply to President Obama, according to David Swanson (a former press secretary of Kucinich).

Nomads Searching for a Path

Congressman Ron Paul has attracted the attention of many independent and youthful voters, including some who voted for President Obama in the 2008 election.

You've likely heard the argument that: "If Ron Paul can't beat his Republican opponents in a primary, he could never beat President Obama is a general election." This borders on logical fallacy.

Lex Luthor might get roughed up by three burly men in a bar fight, but he might rough up Superman (or at least have a fighting chance) if he carried a big hunk of Kryponite. Primaries are a like bar fight; the independent vote is incumbent-Kryponite. The deciding question is: Would Republicans vote for Ron Paul if he were the nominee?

That said, Dr. Paul's perceived hypocrisy and personal baggage may preclude him from the consideration of many voters. Perhaps, then, some voters may offer their support to a third-party candidate like Buddy Roemer -- a candidate who is well aware of America's revolving door and is admirably campaigning to " get the money out of politics."

For those who would say supporting a third-party candidate is throwing a vote away, hogwash! Is voting for an "electable" candidate at the expense of your own reasoning and beliefs not throwing your vote (and your dignity) away?

Riding Under One Banner

Ronald Reagan once preached an 11th commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.

Should this same line of reasoning protect corrupt police officers? Perhaps a child-abusing union employee? Who draws the line?

For those frustrated by the lack of accountability in politics, let us join together not as an "Independent" party, rather, but as a Fellowship of Independent Thinkers. Our motto, "Think for yourself." Our borders, none -- for as long as political parties exist, we are free to cross party lines however we see fit.

-- Written by John DeFeo in New York City

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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