Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Take an Independent Voter Survey

The friendly people at CUIP would like you to respond to a survey posted on their website, www.independentvoting.org. You only have to provide your name, and the survey is in a simple one-page, 13-question format. Best of all, there's space for thoughtful answers rather than multiple choice or yes/no responses.

The questions cover such territory as why people choose to identify or register as independents, whether independent candidates should be included in presidential debates, and your opinion of certain issues and candidates that may appeal to independents. You can access the survey here.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Why I Am an Independent Voter

Two reasons, anyway. One has to do with my background as a journalist. At some point, and I have no idea when this was, I began registering as an independent in part because as a journalist, I had tried mightily to be objective in my reporting. As a consequence, I felt—and still do feel—that I needed to be politically independent. People who are cynical about the media may consider that to be bogus reasoning. And I understand why, because I'm cynical about the media as well. But unless you've lived inside my head, with this powerful conscience that never lets me rest, you can't begin to understand how seriously I take journalistic ethics. (Don't even bother calling that an oxymoron. I do get the irony.)

But a far more important reason is the fact that I am a person of faith—the Christian faith, to be precise. And long ago I grew weary of being identified with right-wing fundamentalists who only care about abortion and gay marriage or left-wing liberals who only care about poverty and social justice. Thank the good Lord, I'm a whole lot more complex than that. All of us are more complex than that. But when people of faith reduce their political focus to one or two issues, we all lose. Because the problems we face as a nation are bigger than a few hot-button issues that politicians use to try to divide us neatly into Democratic and Republican camps and thereby keep us in line.

I stepped out of line a long time ago. And I'm not going back. My all-powerful conscience wouldn't let me even if I tried.

There are many other reasons why I'm an independent. But I suspect that when I get around to listing them all—which I warn you, I eventually will do—I'll be able to trace every single reason back to the one thing that drives my life, determines every decision I make, and informs my worldview—my faith and hope in God.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Fed Up with Partisan Politics?

I am. And so are a lot of other people. In fact, 35% of us don't identify with either of the major U.S. political parties. We're independents, and while we're too independent to agree on everything, we do share this one conviction: The political system in this country is broken, and it needs to be fixed. We believe we can all help bring about political reform by stepping away from partisan politics, thinking for ourselves, and making sound decisions based on reality and not rhetoric.

That's a serious undertaking, but we don't have to be so serious in the process. If we lose our sense of humor, we're going to lose it altogether. Then who's going to pick up the cause of political reform? I don't know, but I can guarantee it won't be anyone as thoughtful and intelligent and gracious and insightful as me. Or you.

Speaking of people who are thoughtful and intelligent and gracious and insightful, here's a video of one such person being interviewed by yet another member of the media who just does not get it:

I love how she stays so focused when the interviewer tries to get her off track. Obviously, this broadcast took place before the '06 midterms, and there's no question that independents made the difference on election day. But Jackie's right: the independents that I know care far more about what happens the rest of the year than what happens on election day.

I'm not what you'd call a political animal and never have been. I'm simply one person who refuses to be owned—or taken for granted—by any political party. You won't find political rantings or diatribes here, just reasoned opinions and valuable information on who independent voters are and how we are impacting government at all levels.

Pretty cool, I have to say, all this making-a-difference stuff.