Point of View
I campaigned for the 2nd District congressional seat left behind by now Senator-elect Joe Donnelly. My opponents were Republican Jackie Walorski and Democrat Brendan Mullen. The most common question we were asked regarded congressional gridlock in Washington and how we (upon election) would work to combat it. It’s reasonable that this was (and is) a point of interest because no matter which combination of Republicans and Democrats has been elected to office over time, the consensus among voters remains that nothing positive has been accomplished.
From my perspective as the Libertarian Party candidate, electing a Libertarian is in and of itself the best way to combat gridlock.
At this point in American history, Republican and Democratic candidates have too many obstacles facing them upon election. The simple notion of going to Washington and legislating according to the virtues of right and wrong has been blurred by bureaucracy and the never-ending tug of war that occurs as the two parties fight to control the direction of our nation. Leadership in both parties has such strong influence from the top down that even the most well-intentioned candidates seem to fall in line upon election.
A Libertarian would not have these influences. When elected, a Libertarian would be forced to work with both Republicans and Democrats based solely on their minority status in the halls of Congress. A Libertarian would attempt to focus less on points of disagreement opting instead to create a more efficient government in areas where commonality prevails. This example would begin to improve Congress as a whole because the other parties would begin to see the success of prioritizing issue based coalitions over party loyalty.
In this way Washington, which all three candidates in my race agreed is broken, could be fixed. Couldn’t it? Maybe unless there is a deeper problem.
What if the problem is not entirely with our Representatives? I think it is reasonable to consider that our gridlock situation could very well be a citizen gridlock, and that our congressional gridlock may be nothing more than a reflection of what is happening in society. Think about it. Our representatives are (understandably) placed under a microscope because we elect them (with both trust and skepticism) to develop positive solutions.
However, before they were elected they were just members of our community like you and I. We’re all imperfect. We all have faults.
Think of your friends, families, and coworkers. Do you all agree on the role of government? If we all came together tomorrow to fix our nation’s problems, do you think we would agree on everything? Would we argue? Would we fight? Would we compromise? Or would we develop our own gridlock our own inability to accomplish anything?
Our representatives are nothing more than a reflection of who we (the majority in a democratic system) are. Understanding this means understanding that gridlock will continue unless the majority chooses to vote in a different direction.
At the very least the Libertarian philosophy emphasizes less government in the lives of peaceful people. Where the other two parties would force you to operate within their preferences, a Libertarian would allow for peaceful disagreements between people without overpaying politicians to argue for us.
When politicians argue, it wastes valuable time and money. And for a nation $16 trillion in debt, those are commodities that we just don’t have to waste. Electing Libertarians in the future means electing leaders that are beholden to no special interest that would put people first and politics last.
Joe Ruiz is a social worker from Mishawaka.