First, a bit about the American political landscape past the Republicans and Democrats. There are three other significant nationwide parties: Libertarian, Green, and Constitution. Each of these tends to have elected officials at local levels, maybe an occasional state legislator, and they usually run someone for President in enough states that they could theoretically win the electoral college. Like the major parties, there is a wide range of beliefs within each, so any description should be taken with a grain of salt. The Greens tend to be of a socialist/environmentalist bent. The Libertarians are all about reducing government power at all levels, in some cases even to the point of anarchy, though not so much in the last decade or so. And the Constitution party is the extreme religious right; they share a lot with the Libertarians, but they're also almost to the point of enforcing Christianity. They're in favor of local governments being able to criminalize particular sex acts, and part of their national platform is actually that there should be no legal abortions for any reason, ever, with no exceptions.
I'm a Christian, but I wouldn't touch the Constitution party with a thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot pole. And there are certain aspects of the Green party I agree with, but the simple fact that they're opposed to nuclear power when it's the most environmentally friendly source of energy we've got right now is absurd. Taking ignorance of fact and making it part of your national platform just doesn't work for me.
So the Libertarian party could be described as the hard non-religious right wing. I'm a member of this party because it's the locally active party that comes closest to representing my views. However, I'm not in agreement with the overall philosophy of the party. While I strongly believe that there is far too much bureaucracy and that we are severely overregulated as a society, I do not believe that a smaller government is always the solution . The real issue is not one of size, but of wisdom and approach. Going through the government willy-nilly slashing every program you see is foolhardy. I'm an engineer. When a problem is identified, the problem should be studied, and an appropriate solution found to that problem. In effect, the three minor parties are dedicated to ideologies, and the two major parties are dedicated to beating each other. I'm just interested in good solutions and good service.
And I finally found a party that's all about the same thing!
The Modern Whig party describes itself as a "methodology" party. Their platformis very simple, composed mainly of things almost everyone can agree on, like fiscal responsibility and energy independence. Their focus is less on issues and more on informing people, developing leaders, and long-term problem solving. You can be a Whig and believe almost anything, so long as you express your disagreements respectfully, back up your statements with facts, and don't attack other members of the party. They'll actually kick you out for character attacks against other Whigs!
I'm still working out the official announcement with the MWP leadership, but it's pretty definite at this point. I'm remaining a member of the Libertarian party, but if you ask me, I'm a Whig. Since I've also been endorsed by the Pirate Party, I guess that makes me a Libertarian Whig Pirate?
If you, like me, are wondering why every party seems to be dominated by ideological fights, and you're wondering where all the practical people went, the MWP is very likely for you. Check it out.