This is one of the books that I bought at a transpartisan event (the Republican term is post-partisan. It is one of the books,I list ten others below, that have persuaded me that 2008 is the tipping point year for burying the two parties that have been in breach of the public trust, and restoring the Constitution, the Republic, and the sovereign We.
This is a small book, a serious book, with a wonderfully educational gloassry, very serious endnotes, and a list of ten web sites that I am immediately adding to the home page of Earth Intelligence Network.
The author introduces herself as a voter without a party and a Christian without a church, and having myself been so very angry with the parties and the churches this immediately grabs me.
She credits Barney Frank early on with being the originator of the “purple states” term from which is derived “purple voter,” and as a military person I am further impressed because “purple” is the color we use to define truly joint integrated operations that are not corrupted by inter-service rivalry.
The author discusses how from 2006-2009 the polls consistently have shown that 33-39% of America is neither Democratic nor Republican, and I observe a Pew poll just in the last two weeks that puts self-defined independents at 39%, the Democrats at 33%, and the Republicans at 26% or so and falling.
I have a note to myself, this book is a pre-cursor and companion to both Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny and Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It.
Page 9-10 (after a long preface) have a list of citizen grievances, I will quote just the first one:
“We're tired–tired of two parties whose main priority is self-preservation and self-promotion rather than serving the people who voted them into office.”
This is of course correct, and I would add that it is the loss of integrity across the government–executive as well as within Congress–that is responsible. See among other books Breach of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders Into Insiders and Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency.
The author discusses a number of electoral reforms that are needed, including non-partisan elections, universally-available write-in options, the instant run-off (and variations I was unaware of), term limits, getting rid of the money, an end to gerrymandering (tightly drawn distrcits), and an end to party registration as part of the voting process. All good stuff, see my comments for the list of eight reforms in the Electoral Reform Act that a number of us have press pressing on since the year 2000 while Al Gore sold his integrity for what we now know has become a $100 million pay-off. See The Best Democracy Money Can Buy for the back-story, all known to Gore three months in advance of the election.
I am much taken with the author's brief discussion of how Independents are NOT “undecideds” and are not “swing” voters either. The discussion of how the media ignores (disenfranchises) independent voters, and how the Internet is now empowering ordinary people, is worthy.
I like the author's conclusion that mixing religion and politics is a huge mistake.
Finally I have a note on the author's view that abortion and gay rights are two issues that divide us, and although I did not see this in the book, my own conclusion inspired by others is that we are wasting all of our time arguing about the 20% where we cannot agree, instead of focusing on the 80% where we can make gains: education, family, health, etcetera.
Here are six other books that support and bracket this one:
Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics
Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies
Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History Is Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beauty to the World
VOICE OF THE PEOPLE: The Transpartisan Imperative in American Life
Election 2008: Lipstick on the Pig (Substance of Governance; Legitimate Grievances; Candidates on the Issues; Balanced Budget 101; Call to Arms: Fund We Not Them; Annotated Bibliography)
There are so many books I wish I could link to, especially with respect to betrayal of the public trust by government and the inappropriate insertion of religious ideology into both domestic and foreign affairs. See the comment for a link to my reviews of 500+ non-fiction books, all organized to empower individual citizens with knowledge not available to them from any political source.