Thursday, September 10, 2009

AKA The Waterboy

At my house there are many positions on team Gubler. There's Mom, Dad, Daughter and Sister; but nothing compares to being named as "Waterboy". I've been serving in the position since 1999 though I have never officially received title or designation.

Valinda, whom we'll call coach, first started grooming me for the position after we found out Fred was on the way. Coach would be lying on our bed and I would come into our room, lie down and then start to get comfortable. As soon as I felt settled in, Coach would request in a sweet voice "Could you please get me a drink of water baby?" I would open my eyes look at the ceiling, grunt and then roll out of bed and bring her back a cup of water. Coach would then look at me and the cup and say, "That's kind-of a small cup." I'd grunt and turn around and bring her back a larger cup of water.

Coach would then explain to me that this routine was just training for when the baby came as the baby would require a lot of attention and would be waking up in the middle of the night.

So Fred arrived and, sure enough, required a lot of attention and midnight feedings. My job would be to run to the kitchen, make bottles for Fred in my half-sleep state, and take the bottles to Coach. Next came Jr. and then George. Same routine, though by George Coach was letting me slack off and would keep bottles close to our bed. It seemed like those first four months for each kid I didn't get much sleep; though I'm sure Coach slept less then me during those days. For all those who think Coach was mean to the Waterboy, I was glad to help out.

Currently, my duty is to provide water at bedtime. For instance, George will ask, "Dad will you get me some water in a sippy cup?" As I'm kissing her on the cheek and tucking her in.

"Yes," I say and hurry to the kitchen and fill up the first sippy cup I can find all the pieces to. I rush the sippy cup back to George whereupon she examines it and looks up at me and says, "Not this sippy cup Dad...I want the blue one!"

Coach trained me well.

Can Third Parties Be Effective?

I got into a discussion with my Uncle Tim concerning politics this last weekend and he indicated that third parties only have the effect of changing the outcomes of elections (think Ross Perot helping Clinton win by stealing away Republican votes and Ralph Nader helping George W. win by stealing Democrat votes.) That discussion left me wondering if third parties ever have been effective as presidential candidates.

Doing a little research on the internet, I found that the United States has had around four major political parties during its history.

The first major political party was the "Federalist Party" led by Alexander Hamilton and John Adams and was around from 1789 to 1820. This party favored an active Federal government, a Treasury that played a role in the nations economic life, and a Pro-British foreign policy.

The second major political party was the "Republicans" or "Democratic-Republican Party" led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and started in 1792. The party later morphed into the "Democrat Party" led by Andrew Jackson in 1828. For several years in the early 1820's this party was the only political party as it was so effective the "Federalist Party" dissolved. The party initially favored a limited Federal government, little government interference in economic affairs, a Po-French policy, and championed states rights. However, with FDR's election in 1932, the party sponsored far-reaching social-reform legislation. This legislation won the support of labor unions and blacks (due to unemployment relief); these groups continue to be large supporters of the "Democrat Party" today.

The third major political party started in 1829 and was named the "National Republican Party". The party later became known as the "Whig Party". This party believed that the Federal Government should actively promote economic development. This party dissolved in 1856.

So looking at these "Major" parties, it looks like only two major parties have existed at any one point in time. What about the success of third parties? And what about the fourth major political party I mentioned earlier on?

From what I can discern, the only really successful third party is also the fourth major political party. This party was able to draw enough members from the "Democrat Party" and the "National Republican Party" to be successful. In fact it was so successful and drew so many members of the "National Republican Party" that the "National Republican Party" dissolved. This party is known today as the "Republican Party", it started in 1854, and was also known as the "Union" party. The presidential candidate in 1860 for this party also won the election that year. His name...Abraham Lincoln. His platform included: (1) a promise to prevent admission of new slaves to the union, (2) a promise to diminish slaveholders' influence in the Federal Government, (3) championing manufacturing interests, railroad builders, speculators, and financiers, and (4) championing nationalism. In the 1980's Ronald Reagan sponsored a "New Federalism" - one that featured a smaller Federal Government which represented a shift in Republican thinking.

My conclusion is that third parties can have success, but that success must come by drawing members from other existing major parties over politically charged issues. Are the issues in our day enough to cause a change in parties? Possibly; it will be interesting to see how things shake out.

Here is a link to some information on the history of political parties.

None dare call it conspiracy

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