Another argument for dismantling the two-party system: This week, in Maine, that state’s supreme court overturned a lower court ruling “that said the state acted reasonably in keeping an independent on November’s U.S. Senate ballot. As a result [of the supreme court’s overturning of the lower court’s ruling], Independent Herbert Hoffman’s name will not appear on the ballot in the running with Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Democrat Rep. Tom Allen.” You can read the rest of the story from which I’ve excerpted here.

Tom Allen (a Dem) must realize how tough it will be to beat out Susan Collins (the incumbent R), so all stops were pulled in an effort to grab as many votes as possible. The Dems felt threatened, apparently, by this independent upstart, so they shoved the Maine Supreme Court into their pockets, started jumping up and down about some technicality in how Hoffman collected his signatures or some such nonsense, and got this poor bastard kicked off the ballot.

Apparently, Hoffman intends to appeal the decision further, as well he should, if not in an effort to revive his (quite certainly) doomed campaign, but to stand up for the idea of democracy, and to represent the will of those 4,000 folks who signed the petition that put him on the ballot in the first place.

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Here’s an idea – let’s completely disassemble both the Democratic and Republican parties. And, for good measure, the Greens and the Libertarians and every other political party fighting tooth and nail for ballot access in this country. Make everyone run as an independent. Everyone gets a fair shot. Let’s level the playing field, so that we are voting for a candidate, not for a party. No more DNC or RNC. Let’s get back to the idea of “whoever gets the most votes wins,” not “whoever is left over from the nearly meaningless primaries race and has the slickest and most well-funded campaign wins because the American people who bother to vote are blinded by their allegiance to a political party.”

This is what I’m sick of – people who just as quickly as they can shit will move their zealous allegiance from one candidate to another for the sake of the Party. So, it really doesn’t matter WHO we put on the ballot, does it? There is a guy who lives near me who is so ultra-Republican, whose lawn and vehicle are completely covered in candidates’ signs, stickers and such (we all know people like this), and who I sincerely believe would vote for a poodle if one were nominated for the GOP ticket.

Many people here in the blogosphere and in my day to day life know how I am torn about whether or not to take part in the political process anymore. Some of these people, in their efforts to sway me one way or the other, try to extol the virtues of either Obama or McCain – and I know damn well that these same people would be just as fervently extolling the virtues of Romney or Clinton or (fill in the blank) or (fill in the blank) if the primaries had turned out differently than they did.

Maybe it’s because I don’t like religion or sports, but I just don’t get the whole herd mentality – and I’m afraid you dyed-in-the-wool pols seem to have it just as badly as the religious wackos and those annoying Red Sox fans that surround me up here in New England. Change the starting line-up of any baseball team, for instance, and people will still “love their team”. Why? Because they’re all wearing the same stupid looking jerseys? The ballot seems to be no different – just throw some name on there of some distinguished Senator, so long as they have an (R) or a (D) after their name.

What I envision is millions of people, casting their votes for no one, in a real, palpable way. How would the talking heads deal with it? They’d be bungling their way through the election coverage: “…well, the earliest exit polls are in, and well, um… they are saying that 78% of Americans voted for, well, ahem, um, none of the above.”

HA!! I would be thrilled beyond imagining if something like that were to happen! But, sadly, it probably never will.

The two party system is so corrupt, so deeply embedded, and either side’s response to anything is so predictable. I am quite certain that the difficulty of ballot access for “third parties” is by design – even that very term is exclusionary and derogatory. Because, let’s face it, folks – the two party system is a money maker for all those pols and political hustlers, no question about it. Yeah, once in a while you have some independent or Green candidate winning smaller, local or state elections, but it meets with a little fanfare, and then, well, it’s business as usual, and the Green candidate gets a bike path put into some city grid, and then political life gets back to normal. No big deal.

I used to believe very strongly that this is where the spark takes hold and fire of change spreads – in those smaller, local elections. But I’ve slowly lost faith in that idea over the years in which I’ve been old enough to vote, and I think the reason that more than half of those able to vote and don’t aren’t showing up to the polls because they understand this idea – they feel completely downtrodden, disgusted and helpless.

Yes, I’ve said this before: my father did used to say “If you don’t vote, don’t bitch” but I am starting to say that if you put someone on the ballot TRULY worth my vote, then I’ll show up. Obama is singing a really timely tune right now, but who knows what kind of change, if any, he’ll bring?

I’ve not yet made up my mind whether or not I’m voting in November. It’s really eating at me. I realize that by not showing up at all is, essentially, helpful for McSame. Certainly, a McSame White House would be shameful – but would an Obama White House, really, be any more desirable or worthwhile?