Lou Dobbs' commentary appears weekly on CNN.com.
Lou Dobbs says Americans should become independents and not be taken for fools by Republicans and Democrats.
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Pakistan's President, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, has carried out another coup to preserve the status quo, and the result has been violence and civil unrest. But chaos is hardly limited to Pakistan.
Some 100,000 Turkish troops are massed on Iraq's northern border eager to attack Kurdish rebels. Iran continues to defy the West in its pursuit of nuclear weapons, while supporting Shiite insurgents in Iraq. More of our troops have been killed this year in Iraq than in any year since the war began, and the war has now lasted longer than World War II. It is no coincidence that as instability and violence spreads through the Islamic world, and particularly in the Middle East, the price of crude oil is nearing $100 a barrel.
The United States also faces critical geopolitical and economic challenges from Russia and China, while the U.S. dollar plummets in world currency markets and our credit markets are racked by a trillion-dollar subprime-mortgage crisis and nearly 2 million home foreclosures.
And, yes, we have a president and a Congress who are held in not only disregard but also contempt by the American people. Not only are the poll ratings of both President Bush and this Congress at or near historic lows, but the vast majority of Americans also believe our great nation is headed in the wrong direction.
As I say in my new book -- Independents Day: Awakening the American Spirit -- the arrogance of our political leaders now threatens the future of our nation, and their elitist sense of entitlement has reached such heights that our leaders are now openly dismissive of the will of the people. Working men and women and their families are simply not being represented in Washington.
One year from now, we will have elected a new president. As eager as I am for that reality, I can't imagine any one of the current candidates for their party's nomination being chosen by the American people to lead this nation for the next four years. I believe the person elected a year from now will be an Independent populist, a man or woman who understands the genius of this country lies in the hearts and minds of its people and not in the prerogatives and power of its elites.
As I travel around the country, my feeling about the lack of true candidates is validated by those I talk with: They are not excited about the candidates seeking their party's nomination. The Democratic and Republican Parties have become merely opposite wings of the same bird, and it's the American people who are getting the bird as our elected officials serve their corporate masters and the special interest groups that dominate both parties.
Has anything really changed since the Democrats took office after the 2006 midterm elections? Has this Congress passed any real legislation aimed at helping this nation's middle class versus corporate America and the wealthiest among us?
Take, for example, the Senate Democrats who for some reason can't decide whether to close the hedge fund tax loophole that allows executives at private equity firms and hedge funds to pay a tax rate of only 15 percent on most of their income. Closing the loophole would be the best way to reform the alternative minimum tax and provide relief for millions of middle-class families, but these Senate Democrats are being guided by the almighty forces of campaign contributions and lobbying dollars. These Senate Democrats, like their Republican colleagues, are serving a few wealthy folks at the expense of our working men and women.
The presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle are fighting for campaign contributions and selling themselves to corporate America in the process, and we all know the end result of such practices. Corporate America is funneling money into both political parties, hedging their bets in the hopes that no matter which candidate is eventually elected, all their political bases are covered. Donating the maximum $2,300 contribution to two candidates whose ideologies are of direct contradiction is now commonplace.
The day will come soon when we'll have the opportunity to choose new leaders who understand and respect our independence and right of self-determination. We the people still possess the power to chart the course of our own destiny. I don't know who will win the next election, but I doubt that independent Americans will choose any one of the announced candidates now running.
More Americans than ever before are now identifying themselves as independents, and I hope millions of Americans in the day and weeks ahead will drop their party affiliation and become independents, refusing to be taken for granted by these two political parties and refusing to be taken for fools by the candidates they're putting forward.
I believe that independent Americans will demand a far better choice than any of the candidates now seeking their party's nomination. I believe next November's surprise will be the election of a man or woman of great character, vision and accomplishment, a candidate who has not yet entered the race.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer. E-mail to a friend
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