I’d like to declare July 5 as Independents’ Day. That would be a day when all the non-party affiliated registered voters celebrate their own independence from the Two-Party machine that controls the American system. This blog I call “View from the Side” was created when I quit the Democratic Party and became an independent voter. Today, I celebrate that independent status.

Here’s the original letter I sent to the Democratic Party, of which a short section was also published in the Eugene Register Guard.

To the Democrat Party Leadership–

After 44 years as a registered Democrat, I have left the party. I am now an unaffiliated voter. 

Nancy Pelosi’s statement that impeaching a clearly criminal president “isn’t worth it” has pushed me out. I cannot in good conscience consider myself a member of a political party that tolerates that kind of thinking in its leaders. To not impeach at this point is a complete dereliction of duty, the duty outlined in Section 4 of Article 2 of the constitution. No one else except the Democrats in the House can do it. Pelosi’s statement condemns the country to suffer two more years under the rule of a criminal. (or likely 6 more years!)

It’s simply immoral to knowingly allow a criminal to remain in office, enriching himself and his family and his cronies, endangering our country and the whole planet. Even if you can’t win, moral duty says you must attempt to stop the crime. This situation is exactly why the impeachment clause is in the constitution. To not use it is somewhere between appeasement and aiding and abetting. I can’t be a party to it.

I’m certain, too, that impeachment is the correct move “politically”. Here’s a prediction. If the Democrats don’t impeach, they will lose the 2020 election. All arguments about the political effect of impeachment are simply guesswork. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think so. People like parties that represent political strength, not weakness. People are attracted to action, to effort, to courage of convictions. To cry out “Treason, crime, treason… but we won’t impeach.” just sounds like a lie. The fact that the Democrats haven’t impeached will become the Republican’s best weapon. Even losing an impeachment fight will give you more chance to win in 2020.

Not impeaching is wrong in all ways. I won’t be a party to it. So I’m no longer in the Democrat party.

The Democratic party has a proud history, and I’m proud to have been a member of it in the past. If the Congressional Democrats move forward with impeachment, with or without the dubious leadership of Nancy Pelosi, I will consider re-registering as a Democrat. 

Until then I will continue to argue for impeachment, not as a Democrat, but as a citizen whose party has failed him. 

And I will continue to encourage others to see that failure in the current direction of the Democratic party. If I can talk others into leaving the party, I will. There may be other parties that show strength and moral courage, other parties to earn my vote.

It’s with great sorrow that I write these words. I’ve been a Democrat most of my life, and I hope, someday, to be proud of the Democratic party again,

Ken Zimmerman

In the months since then, I’ve begun considering, researching, and writing more about the problems created by the two-party system itself. In essays like Good Ship Pelosi Sinking, and Both Sides Now, and What’s Wrong With It, among others, I’ve put forward the idea that our democracy would be better served by a diversity of parties, or by eliminating the party system entirely. The US Constitution, as I’ve said, does not include any mention of political parties, and it would function better without them.

Since becoming an independent voter, I’ve been finding the view from the Side a good one, and the vistas it has opened up for me look endless. I haven’t yet regretted leaving the Two-Party Circus. I’d encourage you all, whichever party you’re in, to join me over here.

If you leave your party today, you can celebrate Independents’ Day with me. Believe me, it’s a whole lot better than either party.

Tomorrow, I’ll look back at the reason I left the Democratic Party in the first place, impeachment. From the Side.

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