Vail Daily column: Ignoring the largest group
January 6, 2014
John Edwards was wrong years ago.
No-no, not because he had a child with a mistress (although that was entertaining, excuse me, I mean "deplorable" enough), but about the whole "two Americas" he blathered about, implying the old adage about the "haves" and the "have-nots," especially as it applied to the political voting scene.
His mistake was numerical, as there are actually "three Americas." Perhaps without knowing it, but probably because it was an election year, he conveniently left out the single most important group of Americans over the last three-plus decades: Independents.
Whether they "have" anything or not is irrelevant.
We've been led by the media (mainly via the interwebs) to believe there is only one room, and that it contains exactly two corners. Ignoring the geometric impossibility, we are told that each of us must be either conservative (Republican) or liberal (Democrat), and there is no space available for any other type of individual thought.
You is either one or you is the other (as they say in the South), and the line delineating the two is so sharply divided that we can easily decipher which "team" will act which way given any issue, no matter how superficial.
To wit: Before A&E finished publishing the very first press release on the "Duck Dynasty" fiasco, the media split the entire nation into two easily definable camps, each ironically hypocritical.
All those who are pro-gun, anti-gay and pro-Jesus jumped on the "Save the Duck" bandwagon, immediately condemning all dissenting opinions as belonging to libtards, libturds, libdiots and any other childish insult they could come up with.
All those who are anti-gun, pro-gay and not belonging to any particular cult jumped on the "Kill the Duck" bandwagon, immediately condemning all dissenting opinions as belonging to republitards, conservaturds, republicants and any other childish insult they could come up with.
Incredibly, both sides complained vehemently about free speech.
Ultimately, of course, the issue was settled by good ol' American capitalism (dollars and common sense), and now everyone has quickly forgotten about it.
Yet the voice of the independents, which according to the latest Gallup polls is nearly 40 percent of all voters in the U.S. (not affiliated with either party), was ignored.
Yes, I understand that the silly Duck issue had nothing to do with voting, but only on the surface. It is indicative of every single issue we currently face as a nation, with each one, whether a vote is required or not, immediately classified by the media as a pro-Republican/anti-Democrat or anti-Republican/pro-Democrat subject.
And that's where the independents, even though the single largest piece of the American pie, are being left off the table of national respectability, without so much as a single spoon.
American independents are finally tiring of the nonsense and hopefully will show their collective power in the 2014 elections. I realize that hoping for non-conformists to unite is a somewhat oxymoronic phrase, but I truly think it will happen this year. Sure, the two parties will still reign, but each will have to work harder to gain the independent vote.
So sure, reality tells us that there is actually only one America, and that is how the rest of the world will continue to view us, but either way, nobody wants to remember John Edwards.
Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes a weekly column. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.