When I moved to Oregon from California almost a year ago, I registered to vote (of course) and left the Democratic Party. I wanted to become one of those coveted voters who didn’t have a party label: not a joiner, but among the wooed.

And I wanted to help move the Myth of the Independent Voter; you can too. I’m not one of those Independent Voters in the mushy middle between the GOP and the Democrats. I’m an independent who believes neither party really suits my needs; neither stands for what I believe in; neither speaks for the independent voters like me. And not because the parties are extreme, but because they are in the mushy middle, the parties themselves have become ruined shells of their former selves. They have come to occupy the corporate-approved, Villager-vetted, media-friendly space that ensures the rich and the companies they own get what they want from our government.

I’m not an independent who fits between the parties; I’m outside the parties. Way outside, apparently. And I think there are lots more of me than there are Mushy Middlependents.

But I still have a vote. And my vote is Independent. If a candidate is for equality under the law, civil liberties, legal pot, civil rights, free speech and well-controlled moneyed interests, ending corporate personhood and curtailing America’s foreign adventures on their behalf, renewable energy and public funding of campaigns, come woo me. My vote is up for grabs.

Higher taxes on rich folks? Absolutely. Doubled Social Security benefits with a much lower retirement age. Check. Halve our military budget, for starters? Yup.

I’m not in the middle, I’m way over here. A new kind of independent, not the Candy Crowley/Gloria Borger kind of Independent exalted by Beltway media. I’m an independent whose independence means I’m in no party’s thrall.

Never again will I go into a ballot box (that’s a metaphor here in Oregon; my ballot box is my desk where I fill out my mail-in ballot) and pull the lever next to a name because it has a D next to it, or because an opponent has an R next to it. I’m not a party man any more. I’m here for wooing; I’m an independent now.

So, join me, won’t you? Declare your independence on this, Independents’ Day Weekend. Make the break from party lines, make candidates and movements work for your vote. Eschew faction!

And work to make candidates and movements independent too, from the ruinous influence of wealth, privilege, and extraction that now rule our nation.

It’s Independents’ Day. Celebrate it with me, please!

Teddy Partridge

Teddy Partridge