Former Vice President Hubert Humphrey described Washington as 26 square miles surrounded by reality. In the words of Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, today’s Washington has become a “permanent feudal class,” a massive, self-sustaining entity that sucks people in, nurtures addiction to its spoils, and imposes a peculiar psychology on big fish and minnows alike. The Beltway Beast is controlled by two major parties: the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. Last night’s election results show that the political infighting and policies against middle-class America will continue and that nothing will change.
The Beltway Beast has its own logic that often defies common sense, where our leaders are considered “patriotic” when they send our soldiers to get killed in a war based on flawed policies, while those who oppose the war are considered “unpatriotic”; where pulling the gun seems to be the first step to solve international problems; where the way to win the hearts and minds of people is by occupying their country and bombing them; and where a president is considered “weak” unless he takes military action in the international conflicts that are regional or civil wars.
We have been conditioned by both major parties to believe that a two-party monopoly is best for the country. This may have been true in the 20th century, but not in the 21st century, as reflected by recent polls showing that a record 42 percent of Americans do not identify with either party. The dissatisfaction and the anger with Washington reflected in yesterday’s exit polls offer the best opportunity to think anew and start supporting a mainstream third party that speaks for all Americans.