Thursday, September 6, 2012

Third Wheel or Third Way?

I remember being on vacation with a good friend who then "connected" with somebody. Their holiday romance was exactly what those sorts of things are: fun, festive and fleeting. For me it was much like being a third wheel. Being the extra add-on in a world of duos is awkward. As a single person it’s not uncommon for restaurants to tack on an extra chair with a table for two rather than give up a four top. With all of the hoopla surrounding the major party conventions these past few weeks, I can’t but help feeling a bit like that third wheel again.

The Libertarian party held its convention last Memorial Day. C-Span covered it. Each of the major networks gave the pro-forma coverage to Gov. Gary Johnson being selected as the Presidential nominee. The pundits and press coverage of Libertarian politics tends to include qualifying phrases (“extreme”) that diminish any value of what the substance of the issue might be.

The party is the third largest in the U.S. and (as it has since its founding in 1971) it will have its candidate on enough ballots to win the Electoral College, a fact that no other ‘third’ party can claim. There are hundreds of elected Libertarians in positions in Government and the party has generated millions of votes in its four decades.

With the clutter of issues and punditry and the gamesmanship of the debates that exclude third party candidates, it’s easy to think that any party other than the Republicans or the Democrats is just fanciful.

The Democrats made history this week as they approved their Party Platform. While each Party’s positions are often a reflection of the candidate, and they are not binding for governing – they do provide a window into each party’s approach to an issue. Let’s look at this historic language – and how each of the parties tackles the issue:

Democrats: Freedom to Marry. We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference. We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act

Republicans: The institution of marriage is the foundation of civil society. Its success as an institution will determine our success as a nation. It has been proven by both experience and endless social science studies that traditional marriage is best for children. Children raised in intact married families are more likely to attend college, are physically and emotionally healthier, are less likely to use drugs or alcohol, engage in crime, or get pregnant outside of marriage. The success of marriage directly impacts the economic well-being of individuals. Furthermore, the future of marriage affects freedom. The lack of family formation not only leads to more government costs, but also to more government control over the lives of its citizens in all aspects. We recognize and honor the courageous efforts of those who bear the many burdens of parenting alone, even as we believe that marriage, the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote through laws governing marriage. We embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity.

Libertarians: Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government's treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws.

I applaud the Democrats for including equality in their platform. Welcome to the world that Libertarians have experienced for 41 years as GLBT respect and freedom has been part of the LP platform all along.  This position is absolute consistent with the LP Statement of Pinciples that I carry in my wallet: 

We hold that all individuals have the right to excersise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.
Today, more than ever, Americans deserve to hear as many approaches to the vital issues of the day as possible. There is a third way which isn't a third wheel: it's the third largest political party in the US.


  1. You left out a few freedoms that the Democrats want to ignore and eliminate. #1, the RIGHT under our Constitution of religious instititutions to determine their own theology. How on earth can a president, with a degree in Constitutional Law, force the Roman Catholic Church to provide free birth control under his healthcare legislation? Hello? First Amendment? #2 How can a president, who taught Constitutional law, ignore the Commerce Clause and compel Americans to buy a product (private health insurance)? I remain convinced that the Supreme Court was as much in error in its decision to support Obamacare as they were in the Dread-Sscott decision.

  2. You don't find it the least bit convenient and opportunistic that Obama "found religion"on gay marriage 2 months before his re-election, when he looked at the polls and realized he needed every gay vote he could get? Politician with a capital "P." twomonths ago. His position was exactly the sae as Romney's.

  3. Why does your blog prevent correcting typographical errors? My last two posts contained a fewtypos and auto-correct MISspellings, but I was unable to make corrections. ?

    1. Thanks for the excellent additional points. Not sure why the Blogger doesn't allow typo's to be fixed. Will look into!

  4. Typing on an iPad can make one out to be an illiterate. First, there is the touch screen keyboaord (miss a key by 2 mm and you enter the wrong letter); then "autocorrect" kicks in and makes matters worse. And then your blog provider blocks all attempts to make corrections. I love give and take, but don't like technology making me read like an idiot. Just wanted to point out a tech flaw that your readers can't get around.