Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Stitching the Nation Back Together with Common Goals

Benjamin Franklin on a 5 cent stamp
241 years ago today, the Second Continental Congress established the postal system and elected Benjamin Franklin to run it (he had previous experience as Postmaster General for the British). This is one of the most significant moments of US history, and our postal system is actually older than the United States itself. With all the blather about the conventions (along with the amazingly unsettling spin some outlets are putting on truly minor details) and all the nasty rhetoric being spewed on social media, it is important to step back, take a breath and reflect on history.

We have common goals.

All of us, regardless of party preference, regardless of who we like personally or think is the better (or worse) role model, share goals for our nation. If American voters were more capable of focusing on finding those commonalities, not only would this process be more palatable, but it would actually improve our nation on many levels.

If you want to talk about "making America great again," then you need to think about what that means and why you think it is not great right now. The root of it, most likely, is dogma. In every single instance, dogma is bad. Dogma stifles critical thinking. Dogma pits brothers and sisters against one another. Dogma commands tribute to righteousness rather than understanding our differences, our circumstances, the simple fact that even a perfect cube looks different when viewed from varied angles.

Only by combining perspectives can we achieve a workable whole view. That was something our Forefathers struggled to achieve. That is what the nation's first postal roads reflected. By facilitating communication, by making it possible for messages to be transmitted and received across great distances, our nation set the precedence for a broader view. Today we have the Internet, and while it increases speed and efficiency of transmission, too often the message is lost because dogma gets in the way of reception. Dogma encourages knee jerk reactions rather than thoughtful vetting. It is dogma that provides the false moral superiority that allows for rabid name calling and epithets. Dogma closes minds, destroys original thought and prevents productive, active, real discourse.

We may not have a new Benjamin Franklin waiting in the wings, but we do have the best postal roads in the world, waiting to stitch this great nation back together.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Do Media Producers Have Obligations to the Greater Society?

I wrote an article a few years ago that generated some positive responses and ended up being cited as a source in another random article that I had come across on the web, in which I laid out an argument for professional media producers to take responsibility for the products they create in terms of their affect on society at large. While that article is still valid, it does not address the growing issues of spontaneous mobile media creation in light of the rise of smartphone and tablet use.

While I do not see this as a censorship issue, it is hard to get around the fact that we are in an era when it is increasingly more difficult to protect

Monday, July 7, 2014

Does SCOTUS Intend to Grant Human Rights to Robots?

In the wake of the Hobby Lobby verdict, which rested heavily on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, it becomes increasingly important to question the direction that the Supreme Court of the United States of America has taken in terms of granting Human Rights to Corporations.

Corporations have existed in legal terms with a sort of mysterious "personhood" since their inception. It was a clever construct that allowed for better governance structures for big businesses and also as a means for privately held businesses to be separated from their owners. This is all well and good as long as the "personhood" aspect is understood to be metaphorical. In the reality that most humans live in,

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Where You Can Find 3rd Party Political Discussion on Facebook

You may have noticed that this blog is not updated on a regular basis. Part of the reason for this is that we are trying other social networking venues as well. Each platform is suited to particular forms of discussion and trying to keep them all interlinked can be tedious. However, our efforts are currently on our Facebook presence. This forum will remain open for original content, though Facebook will probably be more frequently updated with links to outside sources as well as links back here and discussions that are unique to the Facebook page.

We hope that you will all take the time to Like the Facebook page for the 3rd Party. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Educational Reform for the 21st Century with 100 Year-Old Revolutionary Ideas

It is obvious to many, if not most people that there are serious flaws in our educational system. Different countries have taken various approaches toward guiding students into becoming the sorts of citizens that each country's officials desire to create. In some instances, that may mean schools and policies that put religion front and center, or limit access to education for certain demographics (such as girls). Historically, schools have been used as a means for generating a functioning working class, reinforcing dogmatic beliefs and otherwise cultivating a populace that will support the statusquo.

Between wars in the preceding century, various educators and philosophers, primarily in Europe, but also in the United States, began to think of other ways to educate the "whole child." This meant moving beyond simple rote learning and memorization and, though they may not have fully understood it yet because the science was not established, working within actual neurological developmentally appropriate stages of each child's intellectual and emotional growth. Key among the influencers of their time were three individuals who established long-lasting and somewhat overlapping movements: Maria Montessori, Rudolf Steiner and John Dewey.

The Pioneers of Progressive Developmental Education

These pioneering individuals were each deeply affected by the upheavals in Western society during their lifetimes. The impact of World War I, most significantly, caused many people of their time to re-evaluate human priorities and become more proactive in creating a future that was geared toward peace and individual development.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

So the needless government shutdown of 2013 is over... who's to blame and why should we care?

Things have been pretty quiet here at the Third Party lately. But eyes have been on Washington and the general "Business As Usual" choices being made by those in office. Observing the descent into this recent government shutdown and the distractions thrown at the media in order to keep us all guessing has been very frustrating. So I am going to clear a little of this up right here and now, and actually call for some very specific action.

While at one time, the founders of this organization harbored the notion of forming a viable political alternative to the dominant parties, one which was based on reason and empathy rather than partisan dogma, it did not seem as though mainstream Americans were ready to jump on board this particular revolution. We therefore veered toward the goal of education and enlightenment, changing perspectives when possible and attempting to foster a new base of thoughtful, reasoned and educated voters. The fact that the Tea Party influence so heavily flushed through Congress in the last election cycle is evidence that our work here did not go far enough. Bearing that in mind, we are opening a Facebook page to act as our live discussion board, while keeping this site alive for commentary pieces (in this blog) and general information on the home page. It is seriously underfunded, so please do not expect frequent updates. However, change only happens when individuals act in support. And that being said, I am going to move along into the clear issues of why our government was shut down and what to do about it now.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wayback Machine

Just for fun, here is a look back at August of 2000:


A lot of the issues were the same 12 years ago. Some topics are perhaps even hotter now, and not surprisingly so.

With tonight kicking off the debate season, it will be interesting to see how Romney and Obama address these old issues (or skirt around them).