Tom's Thoughts

Location: Granite Falls, North Carolina, United States

I'm an ordained United Methodist minister no longer pastoring churches, a former media producer with skills ten years out of date, a writer trying to sell my first novel, and a sales associate keeping body and soul together working for the People's Republic of Corporate America. I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who was my best friend for 17 years before we married.

Friday, January 11, 2008

What I didn't say

I was on the radio yesterday. The local NPR station, WFAE Charlotte, which is translated on WFHE Hickory has a talk show from 9 to 10 (a.m., repeated at 9 p.m.), called "Charlotte Talks." Every so often they have some listener volunteers come on for a session they call, "Average Joes."

I was invited to be one of the Average Joes yesterday. I was on with two independent voters and a leader in South Carolina's Green Party. We talked about the election, health care, and the culture, among a few other topics. There wasn't time to say everything I wanted to say, much less what I thought about since then.

First, the two-party system in this country is much like TV was in the '50s and '60s. Three major networks carried the bulk of the shows that people watched, and there was very little on any independent stations beyond some old movies and such.

Our political system is set up the same way. The two major parties control the political dialogue in the major media, and one is hard-pressed to hear any views other than what they tell us. Inside-the-beltway conventional wisdom is all we hear unless we dig around the blogs.

I have been thinking about the parliamentary systems that other major democracies have, with all kinds of splinter parties forming coalitions to get different things done. I wish America could be more like that. Now, I have said before that Ronald Reagan was the best argument in favor of a parliamentary system, and Newt Gingrich the best argument against one.

Anyway, I wish we could hear from more parties, from the Libertarians, the Socialists, the Greens, the Progressives, etc. Not just the two major brands. We need more variety in our American political discourse. We need to hear more and different views than the two we have.

My wife needs the computer now, so I'll resume later.