Monday, July 3, 2017


Updated:  July 4th at 06:30 a.m.



4th of July, 2017

As we celebrate America's 241st birthday (counting the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 as the starting point), in reflecting on my own political history, the most fulfilling thing I have ever done was to become a political independent.

In 2008, beginning with this blog (March 12, 2008), I declared myself free of identifying with either the Democratic or Republican Political parties nor do any of the minor political parties have any appeal to me.

From 1960 through 1975, I was a registered Republican.

From 1976 through 2008, I was a registered Democrat.

So I can tell you from personal experience that both mainline political parties leave a lot to be desired.

However, even in my partisanship days, I had no hesitation whatsoever to call out "in-the-name-of-partisanship" performing elected officials of my party identity at the time, Republican or Democrat.

For example, I called out Democratic governor Ted Strickland on an issue in a letter-to-the-editor to The Repository about one year into his term.

Let me tell you, the-then Stark County Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. was none too happy about that.

And I can understand why.

Johnnie (the first county chairman to have a local party endorse Strickland in the-then competitive race for governor) appears to have been very successful in getting Strickland to appoint several of Maier's "close" political friends to various state positions.

Typically, county parties do not endorse in primary elections.

That may be changing.  Jon Husted claims that 36 Republican Party chairpersons endorse him in his run for governor in the 2018 Republican primary.  Stark County's Jeff Matthews with ties to candidate Jim Renacci reportedly has pledged to remain neutral through the primary.

There might be a distinction between a chairperson endorsement (as claimed by Husted) and a county party endorsement.  We shall see in due course.

The greatest compliment I have had in writing this blog over the nearly past 10 years came from former Local 94, Plumbers and Pipefitters official Dan Fonte (a stanch Democrat) who said of me that I am "an equal opportunity critic" when it comes to blog analysis political parties, elected officials and public figures.

That is not to say that neither the Democratic or Republican political parties do not, here and there, do some community enhancing things in the way of fortifying our democratic-republican system of government.

One example of a "democratic-republican system" enhancing thing is demonstrated in an current effort underway on the part of the Stark County "organized" Democrats to get an initiative on the November, 2018 ballot to get U.S. congressional elections nearer to a "in the spirit of" the U.S. Constitution:  one person, one vote standard.

Take a look at a recent blogs I wrote on the effort of Fair Congressional Districts for Ohio:
Local Democratic officials are doing the right thing for the general public even if their party and some of them individually have potential self-interest benefit to gain out of the party's official action during this 4th of July holiday period.

Here is part of a e-mail sent out by local Democratic Party organizer Connie Rubin:

Might I suggest that the best way to show your patriotism this 4th of July week is not to just display our flag and have a barbecue, but to instead be politically active?

Oppose partisan gerrymandering of Congressional districts by circulating Fair Districts petitions. 

This citizen initiative would allow the same bi-partisan committee of elected officials that will draw statehouse districts in 2022 to draw our Congressional districts. 

It assures that at least 2 members of the party out of power must approve the districts before they become law. Districts as currently drawn are 100% predictable. 

It doesn’t matter if you live in a Democratic or Republican Congressional District; we can predict with 100% accuracy which party will be victorious. 

NO OHIO CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT is currently competitive. The Fair Districts Initiative seeks to remedy that. Here are times we need volunteers to help:
  • Tonight, July 3 in Canton at 7:30 p.m. at the McKinley Museum, working the crowd attending Canton’s fireworks display.
  • Tonight, July 3 in Massillon at 7:15 p.m., during their Summer Concert at Lincolnway between 1st & 3rd streets
  • July 4 at 7 a.m. at the North Canton YMCA before and after its 2-mile/5K running races (2000+ participants)
  • July 4 at fireworks displays throughout Stark County in Jackson Twp, N Canton, Alliance, elsewhere. active?
Here is an interesting headline from a ProPublica piece today:

Everyday Democrat, Republican, independent, non-partisan, and minor party registered voters as a matter of basic democratic-republican system enhancement should sign one of the Fair Congressional Districts for Ohio initiative petitions.

Kudos to the Dems for seizing this initiative.

But my overall take on both mainline political parties is that each focuses primarily on the welfare of their political party structure (i.e. perpetuate the institution overarching the public interest) and the interests of those persons who wield power within the parties for their and their supporters' personal interests.

It is true political liberation to have both "organized" Republican and Democratic parties to be mostly upset with the blogs I write.

Nevertheless, I do not want them to cease to exist.

What I would like to see is for more "independent, non-partisan" citizens get politically active and, most importantly, successfully seek political office and thereby put themselves in a political brokering stance as a "political" check and balance on the operations of and the policy goals of the two dominant parties.

Across America, independents and non-partisans far outnumber registered Democrats and Republicans.

The problem?

They do not run for office in sufficient numbers.

Accordingly, the potential for registered independents/non-partisans to focus on electing unaffiliated officer seekers is not a real option.

In November, 2015, Stark County and Canton was politically blessed when long time Democrat Bernabei abandoned the Stark County Democratic Party for political "independent status" and rescued the city from four more years of William J. Healy, II as mayor of Canton.

Of course, it takes campaign financing to run for office.

And that is likely why more "independents/non-partisans" do not enter the political frays.

Bernabei has financial resources that many aspiring independent-minded politicians do not have.

Plus, he is highly respected in Stark County by an array of everyday Republicans and and Democrats as well as a smattering of elected Democrats and Republicans that he was able to raise from "caring about the public good over partisanship" citizens enough money to go head-to-head with Healy.

In order for America to mature as a democratic-republic, we, who can stand off from and challenge the Republican/Democratic stranglehold on our system, must push, push, push for the creation of a public system of campaign finance to empower those who care more about the welfare of our communities than parochial political interests.

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