Proud to be an Independent

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A recent letter to the editor of the Des Moines Register asks, "Are you people totally insane?", referring to the platform committee of the Republican Party of Iowa. The letter goes on to list "a sampling of the deep-thinking goals of the Iowa GOP" from the party's proposed platforms.

So I thought now would be a good time to read both parties' platforms and compare them.

Unfortunately, the Iowa Democratic Party has not yet released platforms this year, so I started with the GOP's platforms.

A couple hours and a few pages of notes later, I was about four-sevenths of the way through the lengthy document.

What I have read this far has confirmed what I already know: I'm proud to be an Independent.

It's great for a party to try to unify behind a collection of priorities and standards. The difficult part is getting everyone to agree with those priorities and standards.

While many of the proposed platforms made me shake my head in disagreement, even more incited a nod in agreement. I anticipate a similar response when I read the Democrats' platforms.

That's the benefit of being in the middle. I can pick and choose what I like from each party, weigh it and make an informed decision each election based on my values, not the letter behind someone's name.

Even in this current political climate of partisan bickering, I believe most people are somewhere in the middle. Unfortunately, it seems like those in the middle are often a silent majority. Fed up with extremism on both sides of the aisle, many choose to stay home.

I understand that mentality, but do not condone it.

Instead, I encourage everyone to read the platforms of both parties and make an informed decision, whether that means identifying as Republican, Democrat or Independent.

If you identify as the latter, that does not mean you need to stay home from Tuesday's primary elections. Figure out who you believe will represent you the best and show your support for them, even if they are running unopposed.

I'm proud of my political stripes.

If you are as well, be sure to show them off on Tuesday, on election day in November and every other day of the year.

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