What's good about the Patriot Movement? The Tea Party Movement? The Environmentalist Movement? The movement of middle-of-the-road voters to the far right or far left and back again?
What's good about it? Movement, that's what.
For too long, too many voters relied on their chosen political parties to do their thinking and demonstrated their loyalty by voting a straight ticket. This blind loyalty made it easy for politicians to count on a certain wave of votes -- sure bets, so to speak.
In the words of Bob Dylan, "The times they are a-changing." As the Bard for a generation who questioned all political assumptions, Dylan warned against complacency, against standing still and letting the world happen to you, against blind acceptance without questioning.
The various offshoots of the two party system in America are full of people who want their voices heard. That is what democracy is all about -- of the people, by the people and for the people. All Americans can, and should, support independent thought.
But these movements are not without their caveats. American voters must pay more attention to what the candidates are saying and less attention to the "D" or "R" by their names. At a recent gathering of local conservatives, the Democratic candidate who will challenge U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, Dale Terry of Huron, acknowledged he is a "proud member of the John Birch Society," and thinks President Barack Obama is a Communist and not even a U.S. citizen.
Not exactly what you'd expect to hear from a registered Democrat.
Republican and Libertarian candidates also expressed their views at the candidates night sponsored by Patriots Unite, a group of ultra-conservatives. If you agree with these candidates, by all means support them with your votes. If not, do the homework to understand all the candidates' positions on matters important to you. Voting a straight ticket regardless of your party affiliation may lead you straight to a place you don't want to go.