Particularly in recent years, Americans have often lamented their limited choices when it comes to electing public servants.
Sometimes, when it comes right down to putting public policy into action, there's not much that separates Republicans from Democrats. Other times, especially at the federal and state level, the members of the two parties behave childishly and refuse to collaborate.
For voters who are dissatisfied in general with the Elephant-vs.-Donkey nature of American politics, and for citizens who don't find either party's candidate appealing for specific offices, third-party or independent candidates offer alternatives.
Unfortunately, in most cases locally, statewide and nationally, viable candidates outside of R's and D's rarely step forward. But Madison County has had a particularly strong Libertarian movement in recent years.
For the November election in Madison County, six Libertarian candidates have filed declarations to run for office:
• Tim Basey, sheriff
• Carletta Morrison, board of commissioners, South District
• Daniel J. Ferris, county council, District 1
• Tracey Walser, Anderson Township Board
• Robert Walser, Anderson Township Board
• Richard Brown, Fall Creek Township Board
Each should be applauded for stepping forward to run for elected office. Campaigning can be time consuming and expensive. Running for office also exposes candidates to public scrutiny that many folks would rather avoid.
These candidates will offer voters in Madison County more choices, thereby expanding and improving the democratic process.
Libertarians traditionally stand for small government and emphasize individual liberty. They serve as a valuable foil to the major parties while providing a different perspective.
In November, voters should give these Libertarian candidates careful consideration and should evaluate each for their qualifications and campaign platform, rather than automatically checking the "R" or "D" on the ballot.