Off Campus

21 October 2005

The Real Two-Party Problem in America

Great minds, think tanks and people who've read books without pictures in them have thought long and hard about what's wrong in America. Articles in magazines, reports on NPR as well as a plethora of literature on the grassroots level point to a growing problem that is unknown in other nations.

We need to get get away from the 2 party system and its terrible effect on society. Being limited to the forces of only two parties is denying ourselves the diversity we as humans crave and need. We're mired in a bi-polar trap of being told what's popular, feeling pressured to lean toward inferior choices, "lesser evils," and denied choice. This is producing a generation of unthinking and unfeeling lumps stuck behind desks, on couches and in our SUVs.

Whether or not it's our fault, and whether or not you feel powerless to stop it, you can! We need the chance to cut loose, break free of our social restraints, reset and reawaken ourselves before we're doomed. Doomed to wasted weekends, grazing over plates of room-temperature bites of starch and protien, drinking warm cola and nursing a general sense of malaise.

We need to remember that there is more options beyond Birthday and Graduation parties. Parties without a need for a last minute gift, or to pass down the $20 Gramma gave you for your birthday last month. Often enough we're stuck with seldom seen extended family at a young childs party, where little Timmy sprayed a bit as he blew out the candles, and to make matters worse - there's no beer.

These aren't the parties of our youth. We had ideas, hopes and dreams, our minds were free, boundless, inspired. And we had fun. What happened? This isn't living, this isn't recharging us so that we can go back to the daily grind on Monday as happy and productive people. This is killing us, making us think that trudging through life is all that there is, waiting for the next obligation to cross off the list. Getting stuck into this mode is a death spiral. Dinners become bland and tasteless. Is this coffee or tea? I can't tell. TV devolves into a flickering box of light and no sound, yet we laugh because we are conditioned too. We become blind to the world and somehow we think we like the 4 songs playing on the radio in an endless loop.

We need to cast off the chains and LIVE people. Invite the gang over on Friday for a "Thank (insert deity of choice) it's Friday" party. Drag the grill up onto the rooftop for a midnight barbeque, arrange a whole host of gatherings for any and every reason. A "three-day full-contact scrabble tournament", a "My son got accepted into a real 4 year college" party, or an "I'm sorry your Mom blew up, Ricky" party where you speak in John Cusak quotes and one liners. Demand a $2.00 cover at the door.

Don't wait for your niece to graduate from Jr. High school before you feel entitled to live a little (or A LOT), there are reasons to celebrate everyday. Halloween is coming up, but before that, This Sunday is Mother-in-Law day, National Mole Day, and the start of Massage Therapy Awareness week. While that might take a little imagination, (I'm certainly not suggesting a Massage with your Mother-in-law party - unless you're in a show on FOX - not that I'll be watching), there is still time to celebrate German Heritage Month (if you're not German, hoist a stein until you are), National Chili month, Cookie Month, Pizza Month, Popcorn Month, Rollerskating month, Toilet Tank Repair month,... With a little imagination, the opportunities are endless. If you were on the ball in September, come November, you'll remember all the good times you had at The October Frozen & Refrigerated Food Festival.

Two Parties? Bah. Tear a page out of Alice in Wonderland and have 364 unbirthday parties everyday (save one) of the year. Plenty of fun. No presents, just cake. Without candles for your nephew to slobber out. Life is a Party, live it.