I hate liver and onions.

My mom made me eat liver as a child, and as an adult, I’ve vowed never to eat it again.

I detest Brussels sprouts almost as much as I loathe liver and onions. Those mini-cabbages literally trigger my gag reflex. Nope, won’t eat those either.

Now imagine for a moment I walk into a restaurant. I sit down, and the waitress hands me a menu. It doesn’t take  long to peruse the offerings because the menu  lists only two dishes.

-Liver and onions

-Brussels sprout casserole

That’s it.

I must choose between liver and Brussels sprouts.

Now, do you think for one minute I would eat either entrée?

Heck no! I would walk right out of the restaurant. After all, I can find plenty of other ways to satisfy my hunger. I’m not going to eat something I detest simply because those dishes make up the only available options. If this house of culinary horrors wants to serve Brussels sprout casserole, and liver and onions, it will have to stay in business without my help!

Walking out and going elsewhere seems like a no-brainer, but when it comes to the political process in America, everybody insists that I have to sit there and eat my liver and onions, or choke down the Brussels sprouts.

I get it from both sides. Republicans implore me to vote for Mitt, insisting he will save America – or at least make it less awful than it currently is under Obama. On the other hand, Democrats swear I have to cast my vote for Obama, because Romney will destroy America. Besides, the president needs four more years to fix the problems he inherited from George W. Bush.

Look, as far as I’m concerned, they both suck. And I’m not going to pick one of these candidates simply because they represent the only viable options provided by our two-party system. Nope. Not any more than I would gag my way through a plate of Brussels sprout casserole. If the Rs and Ds want to offer up a menu I detest, they will have to soldier on without me. Maybe if enough of us refused to eat things we hate, the parties would change the menu.

And you know; I do have other options.

I can choose to focus my attention on state-based solutions. Why waste so much time and energy worrying about who takes up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue when I know from experience that it will not substantively change anything? I guarantee – no matter who wins the White House in November, a year later the federal government will be bigger. It will devour a larger budget. It will be more intrusive. And it will be further in debt. I would bet my meager life savings on that.

No. I’m finished beating my head against the marble walls of D.C. I’m done getting caught up in this false choice. I don’t have to pick the lesser of two evil DC’vers. I’m going to focus my energy and resources where I can actually wield some influence – at state capitols from Richmond to Sacramento. The states have the power to reign in the federal behemoth through nullification and interposition. I’ve watched top-down solutions fail my entire life. The time has come to try to change things from the bottom up.

Washington won’t change itself. We must to force it to change.

And no,  I won’t eat liver and onions, or Brussels sprout casserole either.

Mike Maharrey

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