This was the question that crossed my mind this evening. Hear me out, because at the very least I'm prettier than Ross Perot and more fun at parties than Ralph Nader. Probably.

We Americans are in some kind of pickle, we are, and I bet you agree, no matter your political affiliation. If you ever pay any attention to polls or elections or that sort of thing, you may have noticed something: we are a starkly divided nation, nearly split in two, with the missions and key beliefs of the Republican and Democrat parties so far apart one wonders how we were all raised in the same nation. Half the country completely disagrees with the other half, and neither side will give an inch. Hence we have this endless, endless tug-of-war that serves no one. If one party gets a few wins, the other party will quickly negate them as soon as possible. This is a very costly process, in so many ways. The politicians keep duking it out while trying to build their careers and not piss off big backers, and in the meantime we have economic, educational, and environmental issues that are already so extremely serious they very well may extinguish any reasonable future any of us wish to have. That ain't Chicken Little talk, either, although I so wish it were. A skewed wealth distribution far past what a leading nation can build upon to remain strong and growing, an overburdened educational system that is expected to take on more and more with less and less every year, and global pollution and climate changes, if they remain as projected, will make the former two issues complete non-issues because life as we know it will rather quickly collapse. And in the light of it all, the politicians still grab either side of the rope and pull away, supposedly representing we the people.

It's got to change. But how?

Something that has always deeply bothered me about politics is that many people who could possibly make a real difference -- bright, compassionate, smart, responsible, innovative --  are not politicians, and would never go into the field because of all the game-playing and sound byte-ing and power-grabbing slimery that goes on. Not to mention the need to be unbelievably rich, or cozy up to the unbelievably rich to get your face and sound bytes jammed in the public's faces. Is this what we want? Is this all our political system and our experiment in democracy can ever be?

What if enough people decided that they didn't want to be represented by politicians any more? What if the Independent candidate could become a viable alternative to reshape the system and jolt it out of intractable political civil war? What if enough amazing and hard-working people decided that they wanted to serve our country, build meaningful alliances, and treat $5000 backers exactly the same as $50 backers or zero dollar backers? What if a charismatic and dedicated person could show voters that "Independent" doesn't mean "centrist-that-really-leans-to-one-side-most-of-the-time" or "wasted-vote-crackpot?" What if you had good people with great ideas coming from absolutely all walks of life, not just Ivy-League law schools? What if the individual voice could be heard again above the cronyism and foreign corporations and cynics? What if the very best people could be recruited to work on our problems so we could find solutions, before we just can't climb out of the hole?

The thing is, it's totally up to us. America teaches us that if we want something badly enough, and work hard enough and smart enough, we can achieve anything. That might be a little lofty, but there's truth to it as well. If we can understand everything that has happened and what is at stake, and how polarized politics will surely wrap that tug-of-war rope tightly around all of our collective necks someday, perhaps the time will come for the Great Independents to come in and do the real work our nation, and the world, needs done, and leave the games to the Fools On The Hill.