I have run for political office twice—both times for the United States Senate. I lost my first primary, and I won my second primary. I learned a lot about how the political process works or, should I say, doesn’t work, both at the state and national levels. I learned many lessons and wish I could have done some things differently. I was not always proud of some of the things I said. It is hard not to take things personally. It was hard to listen to people lie about me. It was hard to be called an extremist and a danger to democracy. It was hard to see my family members treated poorly.

Despite all this, I always tried to maintain the character of an honest man.

One of my favorite quotes I learned in high school was from George Washington. “I hope I shall always possess the firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider to be the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.”

I have written in previous articles that the biggest problem America faces is career politicians and political parties. I still believe this to be true. Nothing has changed since the 2022 election; as a matter of fact, things have gotten worse. The political parties in the United States do not serve the people’s best interests. Political parties have become cult-like in their approach, practice, and philosophy.

As an outsider running for office, I experienced that money and power are more important than honor and integrity. I learned that telling the truth is not an enacted value in politics. I learned that politicians and political parties turn good people into hateful people. I learned that in politics, manipulating the young and our elderly is an accepted practice. I learned that politicians and political parties use fear and uncertainty to control people. I learned that failure to follow the identified party leadership, subscribe to their ideas, be an independent thinker, not be intimidated, and have no fear of being ostracized will result in being canceled.

Unfortunately, the constraints of political parties prevent a candidate from genuinely expressing their views on issues. This constraint allows the establishment to control the candidate and the message. Once they realize they cannot control a candidate, they find someone they can manage. The quality of the candidate does not matter. It is all about obedience and subscribing to rules that ultimately put the people you want to represent last. Any departure from the subscribed rules and those rules that go against the party’s formal and informal leaders, the candidate’s success will be limited.

What is a cult? It is typically authoritarian, headed by a person or group with nearly complete control of followers. Cult influence is designed to disrupt a person’s authentic identity and replace it with a new identity. It has a belief system that answers all of life’s questions and offers a particular solution to be gained only by following the leader’s rules. The mere mention of the word cult conjures up negative thoughts. Nowadays, if you utter the words Republican or Democrat in mixed company, you get the same slew of negative reactions.   What was once held in regard as a place to the table to discuss, compromise, and strategize for good results, politics is now an arena to invite criticism, arguments, and division.

The Republican and Democrat cults act in an outrageous and sometimes tragic manner to the detriment of the people they are supposed to serve. Both parties are authoritarian. Both parties are headed by a person or group with nearly complete control of followers. Both parties turn people against each other through lies. Both parties have a belief system that has the answers to all of life’s questions and offers a particular solution to be gained only by following their rules. Both parties serve special interests, their lobbyists, and the wealthy elite at the expense of the American people.